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New report shows just how much it costs to meet basic needs in Michigan

Groceries, including milk, eggs and produce, sitting on a counter.
Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
The Michigan League for Public Policy analyzed statewide costs for basic needs, such as food and housing.

"Making Ends Meet" is a new report from the Michigan League for Public Policy that reveals the average cost of living throughout Michigan.

In its seventh annual report, the policy organization analyzed housing data, child care costs, food expenses, health care costs, and other necessities to calculate a “basic needs income level.”

The basic needs income level determines how much income different types of households need to in order to live in Michigan without any public or private assistance.

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The report found that the lowest basic needs income level is for single adults without children, who need to make an average of $1,923 per month to pay the bills.

Credit The Michigan League for Public Policy
The Michigan League for Public Policy
Although Michigan's minimum wage is $8.90/hour, households require much more to cover basic expenses like housing and food.

Unsurprisingly, the rate is much higher for families. The report found that for a two-parent household with one working parent, the cost of living is $2,580 per month. For single-parent households, the cost goes up to $3,943 per month.

Households with two working parents require the highest basic needs income level, with the basic cost of living reaching an average of $4,721 per month.

Child care proved to be the largest expense for both single-parent and two-parent households. The average monthly cost of child care in the state is $1,134. The national average is $803 per month.

The data suggest that although Michigan’s minimum wage is $8.90 per hour, a single parent working 40 hours per week for 52 weeks would need to make $22.75 per hour in order to afford basic necessities.

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The League for Public Policy report makes a number of policy recommendations to ease the burden of low-income households, including raising the minimum wage, protecting the American Care Act, and tax reform.

You can see how Michigan's basic needs income level breaks down by county here.

Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
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