The Basic Economic Security Tables™ Index (BEST) is a measure of the basic needs and assets workers require for economic security throughout a lifetime and across generations. Read the full report here.
In addition to the report, you can find a variety of data tables here.
The BEST follows on a long history of research defining families’ spending and income needs, but reflects a modern economy and contemporary understanding of how families achieve financial stability. The BEST captures the local variance in prices which determine how well incomes allow families to make ends meet. Town of residence directly affects how much typical economically secure Connecticut residents spend on BEST expenses and how much they need to save. BEST expenses and savings requirements are therefore calculated for five groups of Connecticut towns with similar demographics.
Average BEST values are then calculated for the state as a whole in order to: provide additional context; assist policy makers, researchers and service providers whose work and interests span the state; and allow comparison of Connecticut BEST data to national data and data from other states.
The BEST improves on the descriptive power of earlier budget standards by presenting the specific needs of more than 400 family types—all possible one- or two-adult families with up to six children.1 BEST values for adults are not age-specific, and are applicable to any independent working adult. To further improve understanding of worker expenses and income needs, the BEST calculates separate income requirements for workers with and workers without access to employment-based benefits. Receipt of benefits—namely employer-sponsored health insurance and employment-based retirement plans—can be critical to short- and long-term economic security, and can prevent workers from suffering marked declines in stability, or even impoverishment. The Index also distinguishes between workers who are and are not covered by unemployment insurance. Those without access to unemployment insurance require greater emergency savings to insulate them from instability, as they cannot count on unemployment insurance to replace lost income. By definition, “good jobs” provide access to each of these benefits; low-paying, part-time and temporary jobs commonly do not.