Economy: Expensive to Live in Rural Idaho

Our GOP leaders rule rural areas of Idaho and their short-sighted economic strategies keep them from investing in infrastructure such as broadband, roads, bridges, water systems, public schools … The result is apparent, as the GOP settles from blaming a struggling rural economy on changes in the timber, ranching and farming industries that began happening in the 1980s, they do nothing as businesses and families flee for more prosperous areas.

Rural areas now have fewer people to share the burden of financing their own infrastructure and the GOP legislators keep piling more on top of those who are left by cutting state support for everything. The “starve the beast” approach to governing looks like empty schools, cracked sidewalks with thistles growing out of them and broken windows on downtown storefronts.

This experiment with Idaho GOP control has failed. It is time to elect people who value rural communities and who will help businesses and families prosper together in a stronger economy.

It’s More Expensive To ‘Get By’ In Rural Idaho Than Boise

July 10, 2013 | 3:34 PM
By Emilie Ritter Saunders

It costs more to get by in rural Idaho than it does in Boise, the state’s population center. That’s according to the Economic Policy Institute’s family budget calculator.

A family of four living in Boise needs $56,491 per year. A family of four in rural Idaho needs $58,071.

Here’s a comparison of what it costs for a family of four, two parents and two children, to live in four different parts of Idaho.
Costs For 2 Parents + 2 Children:

Boise-MSA     Idaho Falls      Lewiston     Rural Idaho
Annual Total                         $56,491           $54,939           $54,601       $58,071

Monthly Housing                 $724                 $671                  $657            $648
Monthly Food                       $754                  $754                 $754            $754
Monthly Child Care             $846                 $846                 $846           $846
Monthly Transportation    $607                  $603                 $603           $717
Monthly Health Care          $1,295               $1,277               $1,277         $1,355
Monthly Other Necessities $378                 $365                  $361            $359
Monthly Taxes                      $104                 $63                     $53              $161
Monthly Total                       $4,708             $4,578                $4,550       $4,839

Source: Economic Policy Institute

EPI’s calculator measures the cost of housing, food, transportation, health care, child care, taxes and other necessities to determine a “secure and modest” cost of living. This calculator is available for 615 areas and six family types.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau Idaho’s median household income in 2011 was $43,341. That means half of Idaho households make less than that each year.

Read more at StateImpact Idaho.

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