The Center for Women's Welfare (CWW) develops and calculates the Self-Sufficiency Standard—a budget-based measure of the real cost of living and an alternative to the federal poverty measure.

The Self-Sufficiency Standard determines the amount of income required for working families to meet basic needs at a minimally adequate level, taking into account family composition, ages of children, and geographic differences in costs. More about the Standard. . .

The Standard is calculated for 37 states and the District of Columbia. Click here to find data, reports and partners in your state.

The Standard is widely used

  • To help set “Living Wages” and make the case for raising the minimum wage;
  • To improve career counseling, often using online calculators such as;
  • To target employment and training programs on higher-wage, self-sufficient jobs;
  • To efficiently allocate services and education resources to those that help struggling families leave poverty; and
  • To evaluate and design public policies that enhances achievement of economic self-sufficiency.

Click here for information about the new Supplemental Poverty Measure