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June 2014 | Grants Newsletter

What it Really Costs to Live in NYC

If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Of course. But how much does that take?


More than you thought: $63,166. That’s what a working parent with a toddler and middle schooler  in Brooklyn needs to make ends meet without food stamps, welfare, or help from nonprofits. In Manhattan south of Harlem, the yearly tab rises to $91,552.

These figures were calculated with 2010 data using the Self-Sufficiency Standard, a method of determining the real cost of living by factoring in housing, child care, food, health care, transportation, and taxes.

The standard’s online calculator is used by more than 1,500 caseworkers and job counselors in the City so clients can apply for tax credits and other benefits as they try to move out of poverty. It has been used to make the case for raising the minimum wage. It also is used to target private and public funding for workforce development, educational programs, and other efforts to help millions of New Yorkers.

In 2000, The Trust helped bring the standard to the City, and with our new $50,000 grant, the Women’s Center for Education and Career Advancement is updating the data. Merble Reagon, executive director of the Women’s Center, says bolstering the incomes of working class families bolsters those around them: “When we put more money in their hands, they spend locally, and it boosts our economy.”

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