Rhode Island Standard of Need

risn-2016-coverDecember 14, 2016

What does it costs to live and raise a family in Rhode Island and how do work supports help families meet basic needs?

Rhode Island is a beautiful state with sandy beaches, world class restaurants, and a vibrant arts and culture scene. Yet many workers in our state struggle just to pay for the basics, making it all but impossible for them to enjoy all that our state has to offer. In fact, many workers would not be able to get by if not for government funded work and income supports that close the gap between low wages and high costs.

The Economic Progress Institute publishes the Rhode Island Standard of Need (RISN) to answer two fundamental questions:

What is the cost of meeting basic needs for families and individuals in Rhode Island?

How do state and federal work and income  supports help households meet the cost of basic needs?

The RISN calculates a no-frills budget for families and single adults that includes the costs of housing, food, transportation, health care, child care and other necessities. The RISN also demonstrates how work supports like tax credits, food assistance and child care and health care subsidies help close the gap between income and expenses. By taking all of these factors into account, the RISN provides a more realistic measure of the economic security of Rhode Islanders than the federal poverty level.


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  1. Pingback: A closer look at Rhode Island’s minimum wage

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