Determining Basic Needs Expenses

The expenses used on this site are representative of a bare bones budget — only basic necessities were considered when determining expenses for child care, food, housing, health insurance, transportation, and other necessities.

When possible, expenses were modified in consideration of what a lower-income family typically pays for the expense compared to what a moderate-to-high earning family pays. Basic Needs Expense estimates were gathered from various sources, but are all varied by household composition and most by county. The expenses are not modified as income changes. Click on each expense category to learn about its source and how it was estimated.