Developed by Dr. Diana Pearce, Director of the Center for Women’s Welfare at the University of Washington, the Self-Sufficiency Standard measures how much income a family of a certain composition in a given place in Oregon must earn to meet their basic needs, without public or private subsidies. The standard factors in the cost of six basic needs calibrated to the specific costs for a particular county in Oregon: child care, food, health, housing, transportation, and miscellaneous. The standard then calculates the minimum amount needed to adequately meet a family’s most basic needs and is a much more accurate measurement of poverty than the one-size-fits-all Federal Poverty Level.
Worksystems commissions this study every 3 years to help us better understand factors impacting poverty in our region. We conduct further analysis to identify common characteristics of families that are not meeting the standard and we design policies, programs and strategies targeted at moving people into jobs that pay self sufficient wages.