2009 Updated Livable Wage Figures

A livable wage is the hourly wage or annual income sufficient to meet an individual or family's basic needs plus all applicable federal and state taxes.  The basic needs budgets estimate what it costs to live in Vermont for six different Vermont urban and rural family sizes.  Therefore, there is no one livable wage number.  These figures are intended to be a guide for compensation based on how much it costs to meet basic needs in our state. 

Since 2001, the State of Vermont Joint Fiscal Office (JFO) has estimated the cost of basic needs and the equivalent livable wage, based on methodology first developed in Phase 1 of the VT Job Gap Study and expanded by a 1999 Special Legislative Committee.  As part of Act 59 – passed during the 2005 VT Legislative Session – JFO updates these calculations every odd numbered year on or before January 15th.  The report will be updated during the interim year to reflect any significant economic, policy or statutory changes that impact the information within the report.


Livable Wage: Basic Needs + Taxes

(all figures per wage with employer-assisted health insurance)



Family Unit





Hourly    Annual

wage      wage



Hourly    Annual

wage      wage


Hourly     Annual

wage       wage

Two adults, no children


$13.04   $54,246
each     HH income*

$13.10  $54,496
each    HH income*

$13.07    $54,371

each      HH income*

Single person, no children


$16.41    $34,132

$17.08   $35,526

$16.75    $34,840

Single parent, one child


$23.04    $47,923

$25.04    $52,083

$24.04  $50,003

Single parent, two children


$28.58    $59,446

$31.37    $65,250

$29.98  $62,358

Two parents, one wage earner,

two children (assumes no childcare)

$30.11  $62,629

$31.23    $64,958

$30.67  $63,794

Two parents, two wage earners,

 two children

$18.75   $78,000

each       HH income*

$20.07   $83,491

each    HH income*

$19.41  $80,746

each      HH income*

*HH = Household


2009 LW Source: Basic Needs Report 2009, Vermont Joint Fiscal Office, January 2009 Study.  http://www.leg.state.vt.us/jfo/Reports%20by%20Subject.htm.


Note: The JFO assumes the employer pays 84% if health insurance premium for single persons and 73% for familiesÕ premium costs. Without health insurance, workers must pay these costs out of pocket and the livable wage increases by $2 to 6/ hour.



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