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ERIC Number: ED479259
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Aug
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
The New and Improved Arkansas Family Income Standard: How Much Does It Really Cost To Raise a Family?
Huddleston, Rich
The Family Income Standard (FIS), developed in Arkansas as a more adequate measure of families' economic well-being than the widely-criticized Federal Poverty Level (FPL), is defined as the amount of money a working family must earn to meet its daily living needs without assistance from charities. This report details the effort to update and improve the FIS for the state, providing FIS estimates for 75 Arkansas counties and statewide. The FIS was calculated for six family types varying in the number of parents in the household, the number of children, and the number of employed parents in the household. Findings indicated that the FIS ranged from $21,668 annually for two parents (one employed) with one child to $35,658 for two parents (both employed) with two children. Because two-parents families with a stay-at-home parent do not pay for childcare and have lower transportation costs and a different tax burden, their FIS was considerably lower than parents who are both employed. The largest expenses for families depended on the number of children and whether both parents were employed. The FIS was found to be roughly twice the FPL and higher than prevailing federal minimum wages. County-level FIS differences resulted from differences in costs of four major FIS components: housing, childcare, taxes, and other basic necessities, such as personal care and household items. Delineated in the report are FIS data for each family type in each county and statewide. The report also discusses implications for tax policy, subsidized early care and education, health care, and workforce education. The report concludes by noting that Arkansas has an opportunity to develop state policies that help families achieve economic self-sufficiency and more adequately meet their basic needs. (KB)
Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families, 523 S. Louisiana Street, Suite 700, Little Rock, AR 72201. Tel: 501-371-9678; Fax: 501-371-9681; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.; Ford Foundation, New York, NY.; Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Flint, MI.; Open Society Inst., New York, NY.; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, Little Rock.
Identifiers - Location: Arkansas