In 2013, the Economic Policy Institute's budget calculator considered the cost of housing, child care, food, health care and transportation, determining that it would take an annual income of $88,615 for a four-person family to live modestly in the greater D.C. area. Not even comfortably or middle class—modestly. That cost is 40 percent—$25,000—higher than the national median, placing the D.C. area second to only New York City.
If you live in a less expensive city and are considering a move to D.C., you can play with this tool from CNNMoney to find out how much you'd need to earn to live comparably in the nation's capital. Hopefully, a more lucrative job is motivating your move, because you're going to need it.