Undercurrent

Here’s what ‘a modest yet adequate standard of living’ costs in Nevada

By: - March 15, 2022 12:10 pm

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A two-parent, two-child family in the Las Vegas metropolitan area would need to bring in $81,813 a year ($6,818 per month) to sustain a “modest yet adequate standard of living,” according to an updated analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.

Meanwhile, an adult with no children would need $35,367 annually ($2,947 per month) to feel that level of economic security.

Neither budget is achievable on Nevada’s minimum wage, which is currently $8.75 per hour for employees offered qualifying health insurance and $9.75 per hour for employees who aren’t offered health insurance.

To make $35,000 annually by working one 40-hour a week job, the childless single worker would need to make $17 per hour — nearly twice the state minimum wage. And, in order to stick to the assumed budget set by EPI, they would need to secure housing for less than $800 a month.

To make $82,000 annually, both parents within the two-adult, two-child household would have to be paid $19.66 per hour. That would pay for a two-bedroom apartment, year-round daycare for one child and summer-care for a school age child.

Las Vegas isn’t the only metropolitan area where the actual costs of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care and other necessities don’t align with the minimum wage. EPI found that the federal minimum wage is not enough to live comfortably anywhere in the United States.

EPI describes its Family Budget Calculator as “a more accurate and complete measure of economic security” than the federal poverty line. Its methodology relies on data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion and the Center for Neighborhood Technology, among other sources.

The numbers paint a bleak, if unsurprising, picture for Southern Nevada, but families in the Reno metropolitan area are feeling an even tighter pinch on their pocketbooks compared to minimum wage, according to the EPI analysis. That same family of four would need $88,393 annually ($7,366 monthly) to live modestly yet comfortably in Washoe County.

Clark County actually fared better than all but four other counties in Nevada. EPI estimated the cost of living to be highest in Douglas County, mostly due to higher health care and transportation costs. There, the family of four would need $88,857 annually ($7,405 monthly).

Here’s breakdown of what it would cost for a family of four to live comfortably in each Nevada county:

Additional family types and budgets for Nevada and across the country can be found here. A national map is available here.

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April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus

April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. She has been a beat writer at Las Vegas Sun, a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting North American bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, two children and two mutts.

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