By Peter S. Fisher and Natalie Veldhouse
What does it take to get by these days? This latest edition of The Cost of Living in Iowa answers this question, and connects the answer to public policy choices that are in the hands of state and federal lawmakers. As we did in 2014 and 2016 we are publishing the report in three installments.
We published the first and second parts of our 2018 report in July. The first part focuses on what Iowans must earn — in any county, for several family types — for a family-supporting, basic-needs household budget. We followed in Part 2 with analysis that examines how many Iowa working households earn enough to actually meet a basic-needs budget (about 1 in 6). Later this summer we will release Part 3 to show how work-support programs work — or do not work — for families to make those ends meet.
Iowans pay differing amounts for the basic living essentials depending on where they live. A family living in Linn County and a family living in Clay County will face different housing costs, commuting times and health insurance premiums; child care costs will differ as well. Part 1 of this report details how much families throughout the state must earn in order to meet their basic needs and underscores the importance of public work support programs for many Iowans, who despite their work efforts, are not able to pay for the most basic living expenses.
Below, see how costs compare for families in your county and neighboring counties; click on any county for the data. For a look at regional data, see the list at this link.
Part 1 of this report details how much working families must earn in order to meet their basic needs and underscores the importance of public work support programs for many Iowans, who despite their work efforts, are not able to pay for the most basic living expenses.
View full report or printable 21-page PDF July 2, 2018
News release or printable 2-page PDF
County and regional data (map, printable tables)
Nearly 100,000 working households in Iowa — 17 percent — do not earn enough to meet a basic-needs family budget.
Full report July 2, 2018
Full report printable PDF (6 pages)
Iowa can design child care assistance and other policies to “make work pay” for low-income working families.
Full report Sept. 12, 2018
Two-page backgrounder on the full Cost of Living package
Printable PDF (2 pages)