DETROIT, MI – The people of Michigan know it is an affordable place to live and raise a family. According to an economic think tank, the cost of living in metro Detroit, as well as in most other Michigan metropolitan areas, is much more affordable than that of cities on the east and west coasts. And it certainly isn’t Brownsville, Texas, either.
Families with two adults and two children on the Detroit-Livonia-Warren subway need an annual income of $ 79,308 – or $ 6,609 per month – to live comfortably, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The data was included in the organization’s recently released 2018 Family Budget Calculator, which estimates how expensive it is to live in each of the 3,142 counties and 611 metropolitan areas in the United States.
Here’s how the group breaks down that number:
- Housing: $ 940 per month
- Food: $ 739 per month
- Child care: $ 1,430 per month
- Transportation: $ 1,141 per month
- Other necessities: $ 677 per month
- Taxes: $ 806 per month
Compared to the Ann Arbor area, this might sound like a good deal. In the metropolitan area of ââAnn Arbor, this family of four would need a combined income of $ 89,186 per year – or $ 7,432 per month, to “achieve a modest but sufficient standard of living,” said the ‘organization.
And, if you’re wondering, here’s what a family of four needs in other Michigan metro markets:
- Grand Rapids / Wyoming: $ 77,898 per year, or $ 6,491 per month
- Lansing / East Lansing: $ 77,805 per year, or $ 6,484 per month
- Kalamazoo / Portage: $ 77,604 per year or $ 6,467 per month
- Muskegon: $ 74,069 per year, or $ 6,172 per month
- Holland / Grand Haven: $ 79,879 per year, or $ 6,657 per month
- Niles / Benton Harbor: $ 76,822 per year, or $ 6,402 per month
- Saginaw: $ 73,299 per year, or $ 6,108 per month
- Flint: $ 73,891 per year, or $ 6,158 per month
- Bay City: $ 74,639 per year, or $ 6,220 per month
- Battle Creek: $ 74,500 per year, or $ 6,208 per month
The Family Budget Calculator takes into account geographic differences in the cost of living, but does not include many expenses associated with the middle class lifestyle, including student loan repayments or saving for college or retirement.
“Our family budget calculator goes beyond traditional measures like the poverty line to paint a detailed picture of what families need to get by,” said Elise Gould, senior economist at EPI. said in a press release. âThe latest update provides even more detail on how costs vary across the country. It is primarily a tool for policymakers to advocate for ways to raise wages and make their communities more affordable. “
Unsurprisingly, San Francisco ranked first in the country as the most expensive metropolitan area with a base budget of $ 148,439 per year for a two-parent, two-child household. On the flip side, that same household would need to earn just $ 58,906 to live comfortably in Brownsville, Texas, the cheapest metro area in the country.
The group noted that many low-paid workers do not earn enough money to adequately provide for their families’ basic needs. Even after adjusting for higher minimum wages in states and cities, the group said, there is “nowhere in the country” where a minimum wage worker would earn enough.
“It is clear from our analysis that even in the cheapest areas, many families will find it difficult to meet their basic needs,” said research assistant Zane Mokhiber. âThe good news is that we have many ways to address this, from a higher minimum wage to ambitious child care reform. Decision-makers should rely on a range of tools to help people meet the needs stated in the family budget calculator. “
Click here to go to the calculator. You can change the number of adults and children to see exactly what your household needs to earn to live comfortably in your country.
Patch reporter Dan Hampton contributed to this report / Photo credit: David McNew / Getty Images