% of Jobs with Family Sustaining Potential


The percent of jobs with family sustaining potential is somewhat lower in Larimer than Colorado as a whole. This metric captures the percentage of jobs that have median hourly earnings above the MIT Living Wage threshold for the same geography for a 2 adult and 2 child family with 2 wage earners a given threshold (see gray box below). It is representative of the percent of jobs that either currently or have the potential for workers to earn at or above that threshold. It does not represent the proportion of jobs that do currently earn above that level.
MIT Living Wage for a 2 adult, 2 child family
(based on 2 workers at this level)
What is this measure? This is the percentage of jobs with median hourly earnings greater than or equal to the MIT Living Wage for a 2 adult 2 child family with 2 wage earners. This hourly wage from MIT represents 1/2 of what both full time job holders would need to earn to meet the calculated threshold. Hourly Earnings are from Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupation Employment Survey. The estimate of jobs and median earnings comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Survey estimates for detailed occupations. This data source estimates the number of people in each of more than 700 occupations and estimates various wage percentiles for each occupation in Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). This identifies the percentage of jobs where a person could expect to earn an amount greater than the threshold value (see gray box above), though they may need to have certain experience or skills to earn that wage. It doesn't identify how many jobs have much higher wages or which jobs have higher starting wages for inexperienced workers.

Why do we track this? Jobs shouldn't just be measured by the number we have or how fast they grow. We also need to ask: how many good jobs are here? Defining "good" is difficult, but most people can agree that a good job allows a person to meet their financial needs and sustain their family.
This chart shows the percent of jobs above threshold for Colorado and Colorado MSAs.
The Colorado Center on Law and Policy produced a report in 2018 that estimated the income needed to sustain a family: provide for basic needs and save a modest amount to weather emergencies. These estimates were produced for each County in Colorado for a variety of family types. Three examples are shared here. Click on a legend item to show/hide that data series.
How else can this be measured? This is a difficult thing to measure. There is no single number that can be pinpointed as the dollars needed to sustain all unique families: families come in various sizes with different financial needs. The income a family needs to thrive will vary on number of earners, number of dependents (and their ages),health and educational needs of family members, other sources of financial resources or outstanding debts, and homeowner vs. renter status, just to name a few of the major variables. Beyond the two tools highlighted on this page, there are multiple methodologies for estimating a sustainable wage needed to support a specific size of household. Another example is the Colorado Cost of Living Study.

Why did we use this source? We followed the general methodology used by another region.

Data Sources

Related Dashboard Measures

Additional Information and Other Data Sources