Wages in Context in 50+ Countries - June 1, 2016

If you have a job, are a medium-skilled worker and live in Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Russia, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru, Northern or Western Europe, then your wage is most probably enough to cover the basic necessities of your family.
However, in most countries of the world, the salary given for a low-skilled job does not even reach the individual living wage, i.e. the basic monthly expenses for food, housing and transport of one person.

The WageIndicator Wages in Context offer a different and more comprehensive perspective on the situation of wages all over the world, comparing national poverty line, minimum wage, living wages (of one person and of a typical family) and real wages of low-, middle- and high-skilled workers in more than 50 countries.
The results of such analysis can be sometimes expected, other times surprising.

In Africa, data show that Zimbabwe is the only country where wages from both middle- and high-skilled jobs are enough to support a typical family, while in all other countries one worker alone cannot reach the family living wage, regardless of his/her skill level.

Among the Asian countries analyzed by the Wages in Context, only in Russia – which in this comparison is considered as part of Asia - a medium-skilled worker can reach the typical family living wage, while Kazaks, Azerbaijanis, Indonesians and Sri Lankans can never expect to support a family with one wage, even when it comes from a high-skilled job.

In Europe, it seems easier for workers to support a typical family with one wage, but only in the Western and Northern countries. However, in Spain, Italy, France and Austria, a low-skilled job is still not enough. The situation drastically changes in Eastern Europe, where only in Czech Republic one wage (from a high-skilled job) can cover family expenses; Poland, Belarus and Slovakia are below, but close to that.

In America the gap between real wages and living wages is in general lower than in the rest of the world. Costa Rica is the only country where one worker doesn’t get a typical family living wage, although usually a high-skilled job is needed. Exceptions to this are Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Guatemala, where even a low-skilled job is enough to cover the expenses of a family.

To see the full graphs, have all the information about the variables and get more data about minimum wages, poverty line, real wages and living wages also for individuals, go to the Wages in Context page in


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