Cost Of Thriving Index & Middle-Class Inflation

Good piece in the Washington Post today on the “cost of thriving index  (COTI),” which provides some granular insight into how America’s middle class is faring.  

…(COTI), which starts from a simple premise: Americans must prioritize five sets of goods when providing for their family. That includes food, housing, health care, transportation and higher education. Those who can pay for those needs without worry can enjoy some luxuries without risking their children’s future.

COTI is an attempt to measure how the median American family is doing in obtaining that goal. It looks at the cost of those five items in 1985 and today and compares them with the median wage for a man 25 years or older working full-time. It then calculates the number of weeks it would take for that person to pay for the five items.  – Washington Post

Back in 1985, for example, it took 39.7 weeks of work to pay for COTI basket versus 62.1 weeks of work today to cover the same expenses. 

My dissertation research (unfinished) was on the “Dusenberry effect,”  where consumers try to maintain their standard of living by, say, moving from one income earner in the household to two.  The data show exactly that.  It now takes two incomes in the median household to maintain the standard of living that one income earner could provide in the mid-1980s.   

The data also help explain why the country’s political and economic mood is so dour.

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3 Responses to Cost Of Thriving Index & Middle-Class Inflation

  1. Anonymous says:

    All thanks to the govt and their inflation creating policies. Keep voting for more!

  2. Anonymous says:

    It pays to go to college. One wonders when the cost of getting a college education is factored in how that compares to the HS educated?

  3. Pingback: Living Paycheck To Paycheck: A Growing Problem Among Americans - Business NEWS

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