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Here's How Much Money You Need To Earn To Get By In Louisville And Surrounding Cities

Rush Hour in Louisville, Kentucky Skyline at Sunrise
Rush Hour in Louisville, Kentucky Skyline at Sunrise

A new study by the nonprofit think tank Economic Policy Institute—that is affiliated with the labor movement—concludes that a Kentucky family of four needs to earn nearly $58,000 a year to make ends meet.

In Louisville, the same family structure — two kids and two adults — would need at least $60,700 in order to live a "secure, yet modest living," according to the report.

The study takes into account costs associated with housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, taxes and other necessities. Researchers used data from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Bureau of Economic Research to find associated costs in more than 600 U.S. cities.

The most burdensome cost in Louisville comes via child care, which would total nearly $980 a month for a family with two children, the study concluded. Cost estimates associated with child care are based on the the Child Care Aware of America annual report, which tabulates the cost of child care by state.

For comparison, here's a look at how much it costs per year in other Kentucky cities to get by with a two-adult, two-child household:

In Nashville, a family of four would need to earn about $54,000 a year to get by. In Indianapolis, it's a bit higher at more than $66,000 per year.

Other peer cities have varying cost needs. In Charlotte, a family of four needs to earn about $65,000 annually. In Cincinnati, the mark is about $61,000.

Nationally, the budget needs of a four-person family range from a low of $49,000 a year in Morristown, Tenn., to nearly $106,500 a year in Washington D.C. The national median budget is $63,000, which can be found in Des Moines, Iowa.

Go here to see how much it costs to get by in other cities.

A single Kentuckian needs to earn at least $24,906 a year to meet his or her basic needs, according to the study. In Louisville, that figure jumps to more than $26,000 annually.

A Kentucky worker making minimum wage earns just more than $15,000 before taxes, according to the nonprofit Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.

Kenny Colston, a spokesman for the center, said earning minimum wage isn't enough to live a modest life anywhere in Kentucky. He said that demonstrates the need for lawmakers to boost the state's minimum wage, which the state legislature declined to do last year.

“We encourage our state leaders to recognize reality and pass a statewide minimum wage increase in the next legislative session, which will make a big difference in families’ ability to afford transportation, child care or other essentials to a productive life," he said in a news release.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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