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While traditional measures of economic well-being have focused on median family income, unemployment rates and percentage of families below the poverty level, another approach is being offered. The idea is known as a "livable wage". A livable wage is the level of income necessary to support a given size and type of household in an economically sustainable manner.
The first step in calculating a "livable wage" is to develop a model budget which includes essential expenditures for different family unit types in Steamboat Springs, CO. These model budgets have been prepared using the comprehensive 1998 Consumer Expenditure Survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This survey is the core study done to produce the Consumer Price Index and reflects the differences in expenditure patterns across different consumer units.
In the data summary information on basic living expenses for a single individual renting a 1 BR unit, a single person with one child renting a 2 BR unit, and a family of four renting a 3 BR single family home are shown. All computations are for gross wages, since the model budgets include an item for taxes. In addition the dollar figures have been adjusted to reflect 1/1/98 - 12/31/99 increases in the CPI.
For the complete report, please download the PDF file.