What’s the real cost of living in Illinois? For families seeking a modest standard of living – below average, but not scraping the bottom of poverty – it varies. For example: It’s $44,000 a year for one parent with one child in the Moline area. It’s $84,000 for two parents with three children in the Metro East area. This is according to the 2013 study by the Economic Policy Institute.

The calculator is here: http://www.epi.org/resources/budget/

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The cost of living is tough for families making at or near the minimum wage. “They’re making tough choices about whether to, for example, pay the utility bill or have enough food on the table, between filling a prescription and filling the gas tank, so I think they’re not covering their basic expenses,” says Kim Drew of the Heartland Alliance, an anti-poverty group that’s part of a coalition angling for an increase in Illinois’ minimum wage.

Drew says low-wage families depend on food stamps, WIC, housing assistance and food pantries to get by. She says those who work shouldn’t have to depend on public benefits or private supports.

The cost of living includes food, housing, transportation, child care, health care and taxes.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio / www.AltonDailyNews.com)