The MIT Living Wage Calculator – Introduction to the Living Wage Calculator

In many American communities, families working in low-wage jobs make insufficient income to live locally given the local cost of living. Recently, in a number of high-cost communities, community organizers and citizens have successfully argued that the prevailing wage offered by the public sector and key businesses should reflect a wage rate required to meet minimum standards of living. Therefore we have developed a living wage calculator to estimate the cost of living in your community or region. The calculator lists typical expenses, the living wage and typical wages for the selected location.
The tool is designed to provide a minimum estimate of the cost of living for low wage families. The estimates do not reflect a middle class standard of living. The realism of the estimates depends on the type of community under study. Metropolitan counties are typically locations of high cost. In such cases, the calculator is likely to underestimate costs such as housing and child care. Consider the results a minimum cost threshold that serves as a benchmark, but only that.

Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse

The Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse (SSRC) is an initiative of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A strategic part of OPRE’s mission to provide synthesis and dissemination of research and demonstration findings, the SSRC provides researchers, policymakers, and practitioners access to high-quality research focusing on self-sufficiency, employment, and family and child well-being.

The Community Action Partnership

The Community Action Partnership is the nonprofit, national membership organizations representing the interests of the 1,100 Community Action Agencies (CAAs) across the country that annually help 17 million low-income Americans achieve economic security.  Whether it’s a Head Start program, Weatherization, job training, housing, food bank, energy assistance, financial education, or any of the other 40+ distinct programs, CAAs work to make America a better place to live.
The Partnership’s current initiatives include the Office of Community Services (HHS)-sponsored initiative on Exemplary Practices in Community Economic Development (CED), Rooting Out Poverty: A Campaign by America’s Community Action Network and a two-year Ford Foundation project on Racial Equity and Economic Security. The CED project is identifying, disseminating and implementing successful best practices for CAAs and related organizations. Visit our website:


Half in Ten Campaign

The Half in Ten campaign is a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the Coalition on Human Needs, and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. It is dedicated to building the political and public will to cut the U.S. poverty rate in half in 10 years.
The campaign builds on the work of the Center for American Progress’s 2007 Task Force on Poverty, combining evidence-based policy recommendations with strategic building of networks, spokespeople, and opinion leaders in communities to amplify the call to reduce poverty in America. Our approach is grounded in four fundamental goals: creating good jobs, promoting economic security, strengthening families, and cutting poverty in half in 10 years.


Results Oriented Management and Accountability, or ROMA, is a performance-based initiative designed to preserve the anti-poverty focus of community action and to promote greater effectiveness among state and local agencies receiving Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds. ROMA has built strong foundations for continuous program improvement and accountability among State agencies, community action associations, and local entities.

Center of Budget and Policy Priorities

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is a policy organization working at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals.  The Center conducts research and analysis to inform public debates over proposed budget and tax policies and to help ensure that the needs of low-income families and individuals are considered in these debates.


Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity

The Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) works in partnership with the private sector, community-based organizations, and others to increase the self-sufficiency of Vermonters, strengthen Vermont communities, and eliminate the causes and symptoms of poverty.

Vermont State Legislature

A user-friendly guide to Vermont’s Legislature – from information on each member of the House and Senate to the latest updates on current legislation – you can find it all on the Vt. Legislature’s web site:

Common Good Vermont

Common Good Vermont is a statewide network of nonprofits, consultants, funders and allies working so you can become more effective.

Vermont Head Start Association

The Vermont Head Start Association was formed in order to:

  1. Promote an advocacy agenda on behalf of low income children and families; and
  2. Provide a system of support for directors and parents.
  3. Strengthen and coordinate Vermont Head Start programs, systems and services.
  4. Strengthen collaboration between Vermont Head Start programs and other statewide and local systems of early care, education and family services.

In order to carry out these purposes, the Association will advocate on matters of public policy, provide or sponsor training to support the growth and development of parent leaders, directors and staff, and provide a platform for sharing information between programs. Please contact us for addition information.

Public Assets Institute

Public Assets Institute works on Vermont’s tax and budget policy, and focuses on three areas: health care finance, education finance, and family economic security. Public Assets provides facts, analyses, and policy ideas to inform and stimulate public discussion about how Vermont can be a state that works for all of its residents. – See more at:

Voices for Vermont Children

Established in 1983, Voices for Vermont’s Children (formerly Vermont Children’s Forum) began as an informal alliance of human service and education advocates concerned about the status of children and youth in Vermont. Voices has evolved into a statewide membership organization of several hundred individuals and organizations. Membership dues and contributions support our advocacy, outreach and community organizing on behalf of Vermont’s children and youth.

Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition

Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition (VAHC) is committed to ensuring all Vermonters have decent, safe and affordable housing. With nearly 70 members, we represent most of Vermont’s non-profit affordable housing developers, community land trusts, housing and homeless advocacy groups, public housing authorities, regional planners, funders, state agencies, and others. Throughout its history, VAHC has played a central role in most of the important developments affecting housing policy in Vermont.

Vermont Low Income Advocacy Council – VLIAC

VLIAC is committed to empowering the poor to speak for themselves, and to speak for those who cannot. VLIAC believes that it is our responsibility to bring the needs of lower income Vermonters to the forefront of the Legislative agenda.  VLIAC works to advance those programs and policies that promote economic security and human rights for all Vermonters. Through the Council’s advocacy, VLIAC has been giving a voice to the poor, the elderly, those living with disabilities, and low-income working families in the policy making arena of state government.

Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED)

CFED is a multi-faceted organization working at the local, state and federal levels to create economic opportunity that alleviates poverty.

Agencies provide services to Vermonters in need

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