Costa Rica - Living Wage Series, August 2017. In CRC per Month

The Living Wage is based on the concept that work should provide an adequate income to cover the necessary living costs of a family. WageIndicator calculates Living Wage for around 50 countries based on prices collected within the WageIndicator Cost of Living Survey. The Living Wage calculated by WageIndicator is composed of seven parts: food, housing, transport, health, education, tax and other costs.

WageIndicator presents Living Wages for several household types and working hours to respond to different demands for living wage information: Typical family Living Wage is a baseline estimate that respects the country specific conditions. Family includes two adults and the number of children is given by country specific fertility rate (1.8 children per woman). One parent is working full-time and the working hours of second parent are approximated by national employment rate (66% in 2017). Standard family Living Wage is estimated for a family composed of two adults and two children. One parent is employed full-time and the second parent works 4 days a week it means family employment rate is 1.8. Single-adult Living Wage represents an acceptable standard of living for a single individual working full-time with no dependents.

Expenditure and Living Wage calculation (monthly rates in CRC)

  Typical family   Standard family   Single-adult  
  from to from to from to
Food 161700 195000 170400 205200 42600 51300
Housing 145000 150000 145000 150000 80000 102300
Transport 50000 74800 50000 74800 25000 37400
Health 16000 30000 16000 30000 4000 7500
Education 30000 50000 30000 50000 0 0
Other costs 20100 25000 20600 25500 7580 9930
Total Expenditure 422800 524800 432000 535500 159180 208430
Net Living Wage 248706 308706 240000 297500 159180 208430
Gross Living Wage 273576 339576 264000 327250 175098 229273

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.

Family Living Wages (monthly rates in CRC)

There is not a single answer to what is the adequate cost of living. The result is complex, as the cost of living varies by household composition, location, and employment pattern. The following table presents the Living Wage estimates for a set of common household compositions and under different assumptions about working hours.

  from to
Typical family (two parents + 1.8 children, 1.7 working) 273600 339600
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 264000 327300
Two parents and two children, 2 working 237600 294500
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 316800 392700
Two parents and two children, 1 working 475200 589100
Two parents and three children, 1.7 working 308500 381400
Two parents and four children, 1.7 working 337400 416200
Single-adult without children, 1 working 175100 229300

Note: Results in the table are rounded.

Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in CRC)

Living Wages are presented in context with other wage indicators including minimum wage, poverty line, and various prevailing wages of workers. Table shows the development of income levels over two years.

7-12/20151-6/20167-12/20161-6/2017
  from to from to from to from to
Minimum wage 283800 . 286467 . 286467 . 293132 .
Living Wage - Typical Family 293600 372800 275100 342700 275000 339900 273600 339600
Living Wage - Single Adult 181300 256500 177500 228000 178100 229300 175100 229300
Real wage of low-skilled worker 233400 278700 253500 310100 257300 299600 256900 303600
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 334800 415100 338400 435200 353300 445100 347600 436600
Real wage of high-skilled worker 535300 725700 554900 782400 557700 779700 542700 762600

Note: Reported monthly earnings of workers in low-, medium-, and high-skilled occupations are obtained from the voluntary WageIndicator web surveys on work and wages over the last 36 months. Results in the table are rounded.

Living Wage model diet and food prices in CRC

The food expenditure is the main component of Living Wage and it is determined by the price of food basket. The food prices are taken from WageIndicator Cost of Living Survey which collects the actual prices of all items necessary to calculate the Living Wage. The composition of the food basket is taken from the national food balance sheets published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The food basket is scaled to 2,100 calories per person per day that is the nutritional requirement for good health proposed by World Bank (Handbook on poverty and inequality, 2009).

Food itemGrams per dayEnergy (kcal)Price per kilo fromto
Wheat, barley and cereals 94 272 1000 1200
Rice 98 335 900 1200
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 111 135 3000 3800
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 29 257 1000 1200
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 108 384 950 1000
Maize and products 23 79 400 1000
Milk - Excluding Butter 393 231 575 650
Vegetables, Other 41 13 720 1000
Potatoes and products 33 20 800 1000
Butter, Ghee 11 81 800 1500
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 6 17 500 1000
Pulses, Other and products 1 3 1000 1300
Cassava and products 10 9 700 1000
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 23 30 21700 1300
Sunflowerseed Oil 2 14 1480 1850
Fish products 28 20 4000 4500
Beer 27 10 1600 2400
Sweeteners, Other 4 14 900 1200
Beans 22 73 1000 1200
Sweet potatoes 0 0 800 975
Bananas 1 1 500 900
Soyabeans 3 11 1200 2100
Yams 2 2 500 600
Apples and products 18 5 1500 1890
Tomatoes and products 49 13 800 1000
Onions 16 6 720 1000
Oranges, Mandarines 63 13 890 1200
Plantains 34 29 700 1000
Peas 0 1 600 1000
Roots, Other 9 9 800 1000
Seeds and kernels 0 1 350 450
Wine 4 3 5330 6670
Olives (including preserved) 0 0 350 1050
Honey 1 2 2000 3500
Citrus, Other 0 0 1000 1250
Lemons, Limes and products 14 2 955 1000
Tea (including mate) 0 0 540 580
Grapefruit and products 9 2 1000 1300
Coffee and products 6 2 2000 3000

Data sources:

Living Wage FAQ.

WageIndicator Cost of Living Survey

World Bank Databank, Fertility rate – average births per woman in years 2010-2014

ILO, Estimated participation rate in 2017

FAO, Food balance sheet in 2013 

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