Washington State Self-Sufficiency Standard Report Releases New Data for 2017

Study tracks basic income needs across county, family type, and occupation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 17, 2017

Seattle, Wash.

How much is enough in Washington state? For the past decade and a half, the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County has partnered with the University of Washington Center for Women’s Welfare to release the Self-Sufficiency Standard, which measures the minimum income a family must earn to meet basic needs without public or private assistance.

The recently updated 2017 Self-Sufficiency Standard provides cost of living data with a benchmark of wages required to meet basic household needs for over 700 family types based on family size, composition, and location throughout Washington state. The 2017 Self-Sufficiency Standard provides information both to individuals seeking pathways to self-sufficiency, and to organizations and policymakers seeking to create effective programs to support working families.

A few of 2017’s key findings: the basic costs for a family of four in Seattle have increased by $30,000 over the past decade. Average statewide costs have also risen, by an average of 59 percent, and have increased every year since the study began (2001) in every Washington county, despite the financial crisis. Families with young children typically spend nearly half their total budget on childcare, almost twice what they spend on housing.

The Workforce Development Council’s Self-Sufficiency Calculator puts the standard data to use in a convenient tool—now updated for use on TheCalculator.org—to offer a realistic and up-to-date view of the basic income needs in Washington, including cost of housing, child care, food, transportation, healthcare, taxes, and savings for emergencies.

Dot Fallihee, interim Chief Executive Officer of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, comments: “While so many Seattle-King County industries are booming, the cost of sustaining a family and an individual’s livelihood is growing. This invaluable resource supports our conversations within the community on how not just a job, but a career pathway, can support individuals and families in their journey forward towards self-sufficiency.”


The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County is a workforce grant-making organization that oversees employment-related programs for youth, the adult workforce and employers in King County, with the goal of a strong economy and self-sufficiency for every resident. The Workforce Development Council provides the region with talent pipeline studies, research, and partnerships to aid in connecting talent with employers that need it most. Learn more: via www.seakingwdc.org or by calling (206) 448-0474

Media Contact
Hannah Mello, Strategic Communications Manager
Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County
hmello@seakingwdc.org | 206-448-0474 x 3014