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Self Sufficiency Standard

Research and Resources

In addition to the Self-Sufficiency Standard calculations and reports, (Resources by state) the Center uses the Standard as a basis for other research. This includes demographic reports, economic security modeling, and other research related to poverty and self-sufficiency.

Economic Security Pathways

The first step to achieving economic security is meeting household basic needs at a minimally adequate level, which is calculated in the Self-Sufficiency Standard. However, the Standard is admittedly a conservative measure. Realistically, achieving incomes at the Self-Sufficiency level should not be assumed to mean the achievement of economic security, but is instead the first and necessary, but not sufficient, step. Considered in these reports are three key pathways that adults can take to move closer to long-term economic security, which we call Economic Security Pathways (ESPs): postsecondary education, improved housing and/or homeownership, and savings for retirement. Economic Security Pathway reports have been published for Connecticut, IndianaOhio, North Carolina, and Wyoming.

Demographic Reports

The Center for Women’s Welfare publishes demographic reports, which use U.S. Census Bureau data to analyze the characteristics of those above and below the Self-Sufficiency Standard in particular states. Demographic reports have been published for California, Colorado, Connecticut, Mississippi, New Jersey, New YorkPennsylvaniaWashington State, and Wyoming.

Self-Sufficiency Calculators

Various organizations have taken Self-Sufficiency Standard data and transformed it into online calculators. While some of these allow users to easily look up the particular Self-Sufficiency Standard for a family type in a given place, others are complex screening tools that also evaluate eligibility for public benefits and services. See the sidebar for a list of states and associated calculators.

Other Research and Resources

Frequently Asked Questions
Handout | December 2020

About the Self-Sufficiency Standard
Handout | December 2020

Overview of the Self-Sufficiency Standard Methodology
Handout | December 2020

The Self-Sufficiency Standard Budget Worksheet Exercise
Handout | May 2021

The Self-Suffciency Standard for Washington State 2014
Presentation | By Lisa Manzer | House Labor Committee December 2014

How Much is Really Enough? Understanding Self-Sufficiency in the Border Region
Presentation | By Diana Pearce | October 2012

Public Policies & Private Strategies: Income Adequacy in Pennsylvania
Report | By Diana Pearce | Winter 2003

Pennsylvania Making Wages Work: The Impact of Work Supports on Wage Adequacy for Pennsylvania Families
Report | By Diana Pearce with Lisa Manzer | September 2002

Measuring Poverty and the Supplemental Poverty Measure

Counting the Poor With Competing Poverty Measures
Paper | By Diana Pearce | ASA 2012

Solving the Thresholds Problem
Paper | By Diana Pearce | APPAM 2011

Changing the Federal Poverty Measure...or Not
Blog | By Diana Pearce | The Huffington Post, 2010

Poor Measurement: Changing How We Measure Poverty
Commentary | By Diana Pearce | Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity 2009

Testimony on Measuring Poverty in America
Testimony | By Diana Pearce | US House of Representatives 2008