ECONOMY: Across Maryland, bare-bones household budgets soar above salaries

Living in Montgomery County costs more than living in San Francisco

The report also reveals striking differences within Maryland, from Montgomery County — more expensive than both San Francisco and New York City — to Garrett County, where families can get by with less than half of what their suburban counterparts pay.

The range in the self-sufficiency standard for Maryland ranges from $30,291 in Garrett County to $77,933 in Montgomery County. Several suburban counties–Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard, among others–have seen their expenses increase by more than 60 percent.

Worst is Queen Anne’s County, where expenses have nearly doubled in the past 10 years.

While no single cause is driving the cost increases, the report shows child and health care costs in particular have risen more than 50 percent each in the last decade.

Not a single county saw their overall costs go down.

The University of Washington study did not determine how many working families have incomes below the Self-Sufficiency Standard. Census Bureau data show that roughly 1,215,591 people in Maryland — about 22 percent of the population — live in families with incomes less than 200 percent of the official federal poverty line. (For a family of four, twice the poverty line would be about $44,000.) The census data count the elderly and other categories that were not included in the self-sufficiency calculations for working families.

About the Author

Capital News Service
Capital News Service is a student-powered news organization run by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. With bureaus in College Park, Annapolis and Washington run by professional journalists, CNS delivers news in multiple multimedia formats via partner news organizations such as the Voice.