EPI: The 2018 Rhode Island Standard of Need

December 20, 2018

What does it cost to live and raise a family in Rhode Island and how do work supports help families meet basic needs?

Rhode Island is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. Our culinary and arts communities, scenic beaches and other recreational opportunities offer much about which to be proud. But not all Rhode Islanders are able to enjoy these pleasures and instead struggle just to feed and clothe their children and keep a roof over their heads. Many Rhode Islanders work at jobs that pay wages that are too low to meet basic living costs. Fortunately, work support programs can help close the gap between earnings and expenses.

The Economic Progress Institute publishes the Rhode Island Standard of Need (RISN) to answer two fundamental questions:

  1. What is the cost of meeting basic needs for families and individuals in Rhode Island?
  2. How do state and federal work and income supports help households meet the cost of basic needs?

The RISN calculates a household budget for families with two young children, and for single adults. The no-frills budget includes the costs of housing, food, transportation, health care, child care and other necessities including clothing, toiletries and telephone service. The RISN also demonstrates how work supports like food assistance, tax credits, and child care and health care subsidies help close the gap between income and basic need expenses. By taking all of these factors into account, the RISN provides a more realistic measure of the economic security of Rhode Islanders than the federal poverty level.




Courtesy of Economic Progress Institute

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