Costa Rica - Living Wage Series, October 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 uses prices from the Cost of Living Survey to calculate Living Wage for 60 countries. The Living Wage is an approximate income needed to meet a family’s basic needs including food, housing, transport, health, education, tax deductions and other necessities.

The following table summarises the varying expenditure and income needs for the three commonly occurring family household compositions.

Expenditure and Living Wage calculation (monthly rates in Costa Rican Colon)

  Typical family   Standard family   Single-adult  
  from to from to from to
Food 164500 199900 173200 210400 43300 52600
Housing 150000 183300 150000 183300 96400 141100
Transport 51000 74700 51000 74700 25500 37400
Health 16000 30000 16000 30000 4000 7500
Education 30000 50000 30000 50000 0 0
Other costs 20600 26900 21000 27400 8460 11900
Total Expenditure 432100 564800 441200 575800 177660 250500
Net Living Wage 254176 332235 245111 319889 177660 250500
Gross Living Wage 279600 365500 269600 351900 195400 275600

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.

Family Living Wages (monthly rates in Costa Rican Colon)

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 most common family household compositions and under different assumptions about working hours.

  from to
Typical family (two parents + 1.8 children, 1.7 working) 279600 365500
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 269600 351900
Two parents and two children, 2 working 242700 316700
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 323600 422300
Two parents and two children, 1 working 485300 633400
Two parents and three children, 1.7 working 314900 408400
Two parents and four children, 1.7 working 344200 444100
Single-adult without children, 1 working 195400 275600

Note: Results in the table are rounded.

Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in Costa Rican Colon)

The Minimum Wage is a national legally binding obligation on employers which often make no reference to a living standard. Living Wage describes the adequate living standard. The common goal of the many living wage campaigns currently taking place all over the world is to lift Minimum Wages levels to those of the Living Wages. WageIndicator presents Living Wages jointly with Minimum Wages, aiming to raise awareness concerning the remaining differences in levels. Living Wages are presented in context with other wage indicators including prevailing wages of workers over recent years.

  2014 . 2015 . 2016 . 2017 .
  from to from to from to from to
Minimum wage 257220 283800 283800 283800 286467 286467 293132 293132
Living Wage - Single Adult . . . . . . 195400 275600
Living Wage - Typical Family . . . . . . 279600 365500
Real wage of low-skilled worker 253100 310900 249800 302700 263400 321200 240300 285700
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 317900 405600 333000 415400 339000 430600 349900 440100
Real wage of high-skilled worker 513500 724600 546800 756300 551400 775400 553300 763600

Note: Table shows the lowest monthly Minimum Wage in a country, when available. Reported monthly earnings of workers in low-, medium-, and high-skilled occupations are obtained from the voluntary WageIndicator web survey on work and wages. Results in the table are rounded.


Food basket and food prices in Costa Rican Colon

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 79 575 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 1080 1250
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 1000 1000
Tea (including mate) 0 0 540 580
Grapefruit and products 9 2 1000 1300
Coffee and products 6 2 2000 3000

WageIndicator Living Wage background:

The WageIndicator Living Wage is set to provide acceptable living standard to a family of a particular size. WageIndicator presents Living Wages for several household types and working hours which reflect the most frequently found real situations in which people have to make a living: 1. Typical family Living Wage is a baseline estimate that respects the country specific conditions. Typical family is comprised of two adults and the number of children is given by country specific fertility rate (the average number of children a woman is expected to have during her lifespan). One adult is working full-time and the working hours of second adult are approximated by national employment rate. The total income earned by two adults paid living wage is sufficient to reach adequate living standard. 2. Standard family Living Wage is estimated for a family composed of two adults and two children (referred to as family 2+2). Living wage is calculated under different assumptions about working hours. These include that both adults work full-time (family employment rate is 2), or at least one adult works part-time or half-time (family employment rate is 1.8 and 1.5), or one adult does not work at all (i.e. patriarchal model with family employment 1). Alternatives refer to trade-offs between leisure and work and define what living wage represents. In every case the total income earned by two adults paid living wage is sufficient to reach adequate living standard. 3. Extended family Living Wage includes family with three or four children. One adult works full-time and the work intensity of second parent is approximated by national employment rate. 4. Individual Living Wage represents an acceptable standard of living for a single individual working full-time.

Data sources: WageIndicator Cost of Living Survey, World Bank Databank Fertility rate 2010-2014, ILO Estimated participation rate in 2017, FAO Food balance sheet in 2013.

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