Job hunting in your early twenties seemed so much easier than it does now, didn’t it? You were fresh out of college with your whole life ahead of you. If there was ever a time to take a leap of faith, accept a job offer and move across the country, that was the time to do it.  

Sure, you had to do your due diligence and make sure that the job you accepted paid you enough to survive in your new city. You may have been making just enough to get by, but without a spouse and children to provide for, there was no shame in eating ramen noodles several nights a week and filling your one bedroom apartment with particle board furniture from Big Lots. 

READ MORE: Boise's Top 20 Highest Paying Jobs Revealed 

Flashforward a decade later, you now have a spouse and children depending on you. There’s a lot more on the line when it comes to exploring new career opportunities. You really need to figure out if you’re being lowballed by the offer or are expecting too much before you make a decision that affects your family. 

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That’s where the Massachusetts Institute of Technology comes in to help. MIT created a Living Wage calculator that helps individuals determine how much each person in a household needs to make an hour to support themselves or a family. 


In order to do that, they pull data from many sources including the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to determine the cost of typical expenses for American families. We’re talking about things like food, child care, medical, housing, transportation, hobbies and entertainment and taxes. 

They calculated that data for 3,143 counties, 384 metros and all 50 states. It’s VERY comprehensive. 

So how much does a family of four need to make in Idaho just to get by? The number is pretty shocking when you consider that this is the number to get by paycheck to paycheck. It doesn’t account for putting money into savings. It’s just the bare minimum. 

For a family of four (assuming both adults are working) to survive in Idaho, the MIT calculator shows that the household would need to make a total of $105,611 before taxes. That’s looking at the state from a 30,000 foot view. The numbers look different depending on the county you live in. 

We’ve compiled the numbers for Idaho’s most populated counties and here’s what they look like. 

Income A Family of 4 Needs to Survive in Idaho's Largest Counties

According to MIT's Living Wage Calculator, a couple with two children and both adults working would need to make the following just to squeak by.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

KEEP READING: How Much Money Single People Need to Make to Survive in Idaho and Its Surrounding States

According to GoBankingRates, this is how much you have to make as a single person to live in Idaho and its surrounding states.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

The 20 Highest Paying Jobs in Boise for 2023

According to the latest figures published on the Idaho Department of Labor's website, these are the highest paying jobs in "Boise City." That region includes Ada, Canyon, Boise and Gem counties.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

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