The Colorado Center on Law and Policy is publishing The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Colorado 2015 in an effort to ensure the best data and analyses are available to enable Colorado’s families and individuals to make progress toward real economic security. The result is a comprehensive, credible, and user-friendly tool. At the heart of this report is the Self-Sufficiency Standard itself. This measure describes how much income families of various sizes and compositions need to make ends meet without public or private assistance in each county in Colorado.
The Self-Sufficiency Standard is a measure of income adequacy that is based on the costs of basic needs for working families: housing, child care, food, health care, transportation, and miscellaneous items, as well as the cost of taxes and the impact of tax credits. In addition, this report provides for each family type, in each place, the amount of emergency savings required to meet needs during a period of unemployment or other emergency.
The Standard presented here is a tool that can be used in a variety of ways—by clients of workforce and training programs seeking paths to self-sufficiency, by program managers to evaluate program effectiveness, and by policymakers and legislators seeking to create programs and pathways that lead to self sufficiency for working families.