Bad news on the economic front.
To calculate this “economic security” income, the study’s authors certainly didn’t assume a lavish lifestyle. They considered basic needs–housing, food, utilities, health care, child-care, and transportation–plus the cost of modest saving for retirement and a small surplus for emergencies. (At at a time when economic “shocks” are increasingly common, that’s an essential part of financial security.) They don’t factor in some things many of us take for granted, like entertainment or eating out.
The result? To achieve economic security, a single parent with two children needs an income of just over $30,000 a year–nearly twice the federal minimum wage–while a two-income household needs almost $68,000.
The study then finds that, according to Labor Department projections, fewer than 13 percent of jobs to be created by 2018 will meet the economic security threshold for a single parent with two kids. Forty-three percent of those jobs will meet the threshold for a two-income household.
In other words, most of the jobs of the future aren’t likely to pay enough to offer the kind of stable, middle-class existence that for much of the 20th century was seen as the American birthright.