On June 29, 2010, the Women's Center for Education and Career Advancement, in collaboration with The New York Women's Foundation, United Way of New York City, and the New York Community Trust unveiled the 2010 New York City Self-Sufficiency Standard Report. Previous editions were released in 2000 and 2004. The Self-Sufficiency Standard for New York City charts what it costs to live, work and make ends meet in New York City. The Standard defines the income working families need to meet their basic necessities without private or public assistance. Basic minimum needs include: housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, miscellaneous expenses (clothing, telephone, household items), and taxes (minus federal and state tax credits). The Standard is calculated for 70 different family types in each of New York City's five boroughs. Note that Manhattan is divided into Manhattan North and Manhattan South.
The Self-Sufficiency Standard documents the income required for families to live independently, without public or private assistance. The Self-Sufficiency Standard shows that, for most parents, earnings that are well above the official Federal Poverty Level are nevertheless far below what is needed to meet their families' basic needs. The Standard tells us that families have a hard time meeting basic expenses not because they lack responsibility, work ethic, or budgeting skills, but because they lack enough income to cover the cost of basic needs. The rising costs of housing, child care, and health care; the lack of education and skills; welfare time limits; and restrictions on training and education all add to the problems faced by many parents seeking self-sufficiency. Reaching Self-Sufficiency involves many stakeholders, not just parents working or employers paying adequate wages and benefits, but also policies and programs that help reduce costs and/or raise resources.
The Self-Sufficiency Standard is currently being used to better understand issues of income adequacy, to analyze policy, and to help individuals striving for self-sufficiency. Community organizations, academic researchers, policy institutes, legal advocates, training providers, community action agencies, and state and local officials, among others, are using the Self-Sufficiency Standard.
For more information on the Self-Sufficiency Project click here.