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Basic Needs Budget Calculator

Through a collaboration with the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University, the Picard Center has created customized information on family budgets for all Louisiana parishes. One tool, the Basic Needs Budget Calculator, shows how much a single parent with two children needs to earn to cover the cost of basic living expenses.

For example, in East Baton Rouge Parish, the basic cost of living for a single parent with two children is $45,307. This budget includes only the most basic living expenses such as rent, food, child care, health insurance, transportation, and taxes. Still, it translates to the parent working full-time at $22 an hour. With many single parents earning far below this hourly wage, it is crucial for decision makers to utilize these tools to decide how to best use government supports and programs to help families escape generational poverty.

Basic Needs Budget: East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana
Single Parent with Two Children, Ages 3 and 6

Rent and utilities $9,504 $792
Food $5,977 $498
Child care $10,296 $858
Health insurance premiums (non-group) $6,480 $540
Out-of-pocket medical $0 $0
Transportation $4,427 $369
Other necessities $3,704 $309
Payroll taxes $3,466 $289
Income taxes (includes credits) $1,453 $121
TOTAL $45,307 $3,776
Hourly wage: $22 Percent of federal poverty level: 247%
National Center for Poverty (NCCP) and
Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning;
Analysis based on NCCP’s Basic Needs Budget Calculator, Louisiana 2009 (Child care, rent and utilities, and health care are updated for 2010 costs)


To contact a member of our Poverty and Family Studies division, please call (337) 482-1562 or (337) 482-0512.