The Basic Economic Security Tables™ Index (BEST), developed by Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), reports that in 2010, a family of four consisting of two working adults, a preschooler and a school age child required $67,920 to provide for basic needs and aquire the assets needed for economic security. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services (HHS), the official 2012 U.S. poverty threshold for a family of four is $23,050. That is a dramatic difference. However, it is also comparing apples and oranges.
HSS uses the poverty threshold mainly for statistical purpose. The official poverty threshold has little relation to what it takes to support a family. BEST provides a more realistic esimiate of the actual cost to support a family and build the assets necessary for economic security.
If $67,920 seems high, consider that it includes the following monthly expenses for a two worker household with one preschooler and one school age child: housing ($821); utilities($178); food($707); transportation ($1,019); child care ($1,080); personal and household items ($460) health care ($443) and emergency and retirement savings ($226).