Basic Family Budget Calculator

A Basic Family Budget calculator is an important tool in determining if a family lives in poverty, because the system currently in place to do that is somewhat outdated.

Federal poverty guidelines, which dictate whether a family is eligible to receive assistance such as Medicaid and SNAP, are tied to a formula that was created in the 1960s. It was based on what the typical family spent on groceries because that was a family's biggest expense at the time. Today, necessities like housing, child care and health care take up a far greater share of most family incomes than groceries. Not only do the guidelines not take these changes into account, they do not take into account regional differences in the cost of living.

Because the federal guidelines are lacking, families are generally considered low-income when they earn up to twice (or 200%) the poverty level. This makes up for some shortfalls in the guidelines, but they are still nowhere near as accurate as a Basic Family Budget. While our Basic Family Budget accounts for regional differences across the state, it was created in 2011 and has not been updated to account for inflation or other economic changes.

Use the calculator below to determine the basic family budget for different configurations of families living in New Mexico cities and counties.

Calculate a Basic Family Budget for your area


County or City

Family Makeup





Health Care


Monthly Total

Annual Total



  • The Economic Policy Institute also has a Family Budget Calculator for the metro areas of Albuquerque, Farmington, Las Cruces, and Santa Fe, as well as rural New Mexico, that has slightly newer data. Link to their calculator here.
  • MIT has a living wage calendar with data by county. Link to their calculator here.