The Economic Security Database

Understanding the true costs of living and what resources are needed to prepare for the future is a challenge faced by researchers, advocates, policymakers, social service providers, and individuals and families themselves.

The Basic Economic Security Tables™ (BEST) Index and the Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index (Elder Index) offer a tool to increase this understanding. The BEST and Elder Index present local expenses, savings requirements, and what incomes are needed to achieve economic security by family type, and at the city, county, and state levels.

Database users can:

  • Find an index for a location and family type
  • Compare their own families’ expenses to the local BEST Index
  • Compare indexes or single expenses across locations and family types
  • Download national, state, county and city index data
  • Access additional information on economic security and the work supported by the BEST and Elder Index

The BEST and Elder Index provide comprehensive definitions of, and blueprints for, economic security for all Americans.

Did you know?

  • Approximately 4 in 10 Americans say they worry frequently about their family income being enough to meet their family’s expenses.

  • The majority of Americans think a family of 4 needs more than $50,000 per year to make ends meet.

  • Social Security provides an older woman renter with only 61% of the income required to achieve economic security.