Living Wage Series - United States - August 2017 - In USD 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 (1.9 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 USD)
|Typical family||Standard family||Single-adult|
|Net Living Wage||853||1237||764||1111||698||894|
|Gross Living Wage||1101||1596||986||1433||900||1154|
Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.
Family Living Wages (monthly rates in USD)
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.
|Typical family (two parents + 1.9 children, 1.6 working)||1100||1600|
|Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working)||985||1440|
|Two parents and two children, 2 working||890||1290|
|Two parents and two children, 1.5 working||1190||1720|
|Two parents and two children, 1 working||1780||2580|
|Two parents and three children, 1.6 working||1230||1790|
|Two parents and four children, 1.6 working||1350||1970|
|Single-adult without children, 1 working||900||1160|
Note: Results in the table are rounded.
Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in USD)
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.
|Living Wage - Typical Family||1190||1890||1070||1770||1130||1650||1100||1600|
|Living Wage - Single Adult||920||1210||895||1190||960||1200||900||1160|
|Real wage of low-skilled worker||1490||1870||1520||1880||1460||1820||1670||2210|
|Real wage of medium-skilled worker||1710||2510||1850||2500||1890||2570||1890||2690|
|Real wage of high-skilled worker||2780||4200||2920||4120||2960||4200||2930||4390|
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 USD
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 item||Grams per day||Energy (kcal)||Price per kilo from||to|
|Wheat, barley and cereals||140||375||3||4|
|Meat (beef, pork, poultry)||187||250||5||8|
|Oils (soyabean, olive, palm)||48||403||2.8||3.2|
|Sugar (Raw Equivalent)||51||188||2||4|
|Maize and products||20||54||2||4|
|Milk - Excluding Butter||411||217||2||3|
|Potatoes and products||84||50||2||3|
|Groundnuts (Shelled Eq)||14||52||4||4.9|
|Pulses, Other and products||0||1||3||6.8|
|Cassava and products||0||0||3||4|
|Egg (price per 10 eggs)||24||33||33.3||2.5|
|Apples and products||30||14||1.8||2.8|
|Tomatoes and products||61||11||2||3|
|Seeds and kernels||1||6||2||3|
|Pineapples and products||10||4||.||.|
|Olives (including preserved)||1||1||4||8|
|Lemons, Limes and products||15||2||1||2.3|
|Tea (including mate)||1||0||3||4|
|Grapefruit and products||3||1||1.9||3|
|Coffee and products||7||3||6||7.7|
Living Wage FAQ.
WageIndicator Cost of Living Survey
World Bank Databank, Fertility rate – average births per woman in years 2010-2014