Living Wage Series - Australia August 2017 - In real per Month

Living wages, Wages in context - Australia

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 (1.9 children per woman). One parent is working full-time and the working hours of second parent are approximated by national employment rate (64% 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 AUD)

  Typical family   Standard family   Single-adult  
  from to from to from to
Food 1170 1470 1200 1500 300 375
Housing 375 455 375 455 300 450
Transport 200 260 200 260 100 130
Health 50 100 50 100 13 25
Education 200 300 200 300 0 0
Other costs 100 130 100 130 36 49
Total Expenditure 2095 2715 2125 2745 749 1029
Net Living Wage 1309 1697 1181 1525 749 1029
Gross Living Wage 1545 2002 1393 1799 883 1214

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.

Family Living Wages (monthly rates in AUD)

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 + 1.9 children, 1.6 working) 1550 2000
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 1400 1800
Two parents and two children, 2 working 1260 1620
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 1670 2160
Two parents and two children, 1 working 2510 3240
Two parents and three children, 1.6 working 1800 2320
Two parents and four children, 1.6 working 2030 2610
Single-adult without children, 1 working 885 1220

Note: Results in the table are rounded.

Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in AUD)

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 2699 . 2847 . 2847 . 2915 .
Living Wage - Typical Family . . . . . . 1550 2000
Living Wage - Single Adult . . . . . . 885 1220
Real wage of low-skilled worker 2100 2410 2100 2430 2140 2430 2220 2530
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 3250 3950 3250 4000 3260 3910 3300 3970
Real wage of high-skilled worker 4580 5990 4410 5930 4430 5730 4600 5940

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 AUD

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 130 396 4 5
Rice 20 67 2.2 3.5
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 225 331 9 12.5
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 38 331 . .
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 66 244 3.5 3.5
Maize and products 9 28 4 4
Milk - Excluding Butter 425 224 1 1
Vegetables, Other 114 34 4 4.6
Potatoes and products 99 57 1 3
Butter, Ghee 13 90 6 8
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 20 50 11 11
Pulses, Other and products 1 5 4.5 4.5
Cassava and products 0 0 6 14
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 15 21 61.7 4.2
Sunflowerseed Oil 4 32 . .
Fish products 48 28 20 28
Beer 162 58 10 12.1
Sweeteners, Other 17 8 2.3 2.5
Beans 0 0 4.5 7
Sweet potatoes 3 2 4 4
Bananas 27 17 3 4
Soyabeans 0 1 7 7
Apples and products 41 12 4 4
Tomatoes and products 53 10 3 4
Onions 19 6 2 2
Oranges, Mandarines 28 8 3.5 4
Plantains 0 0 6 15
Peas 1 3 3 3
Roots, Other 0 0 6 11
Seeds and kernels 0 1 10 12
Wine 35 24 18.7 20
Cream 1 1 6 8
Olives (including preserved) 5 5 12 12
Honey 1 3 6 10
Citrus, Other 0 0 4 5
Lemons, Limes and products 3 1 5 7
Tea (including mate) 1 1 10 10
Grapefruit and products 1 0 14 14
Coffee and products 9 3 12 16

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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