I found this recent story on Economic Security from NPR fascinating.
According to the Basic Economic Security Tables in order to achieve economic security the average minimum income needed for a family with two workers and two young children is $67,920 — that is with both parents working, and earning just over $16 an hour. And a single worker with no children needs to make about $30,000 a year (twice the minimum wage).
These number seem very high to me, but when you look at the individual categories they seem to be realistic (although I though transportation costs were too high, but again my commute is quite short). One of the biggest categories of expense is child care. Because of my charitable activities I have first hand knowledge of the average cost of preschool child care (not in home) and I found the numbers from this study to actually be on the low side.
And of course, the amount necessary for economic security far exceeds the federal poverty numbers.