How much does an individual need to earn in order to pay for life’s basic expenses without government assistance, and without private and informal networks? The Self-Sufficiency Standard compares the cost of living based on family size and geography factoring in categories like housing, food, childcare, and taxes.

Self-Sufficiency Data
Self-Sufficiency Data

​The Self-Sufficiency Standard calculated by the Center for Women’s Welfare’s (CWW) defines the amount of income necessary to meet basic needs without public subsidies and without private/informal assistance such as food banks and family members providing free childcare. The CWW serves as a research center to support the continued development and refinement of the Self-Sufficiency Standard, related research, tools and products.

The family types for which a Standard is calculated range from one adult with no children, to one adult with one infant, one adult with one preschooler, and so forth, up to three-adult families with six teenagers. Advance Central PA’s Self-Sufficiency Report utilizes the data available from the CWW to show key information for Central Pennsylvania.

Below is an example for a family of 4 in Union County:

Self-Sufficiency Data
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The Pennsylvania United Way ALICE website allows you to view demographics by township/borough.  ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – they are the individuals in our community who work yet struggle to afford basic essentials. They are extremely vulnerable because they earn too much to qualify for public assistance, but too little to save for all their needs.