Living Wages in Zambia, per month in ZMW

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 (5.4 children per woman). One parent is working full-time and the working hours of second parent are approximated by national employment rate (86% 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 ZMW)

  Typical family   Standard family   Single-adult  
  from to from to from to
Food 2460 2770 1320 1500 330 375
Housing 1000 1200 1000 1200 835 1000
Transport 300 460 300 460 150 230
Health 400 1000 400 1000 100 250
Education 500 700 500 700 0 0
Other costs 235 305 175 245 71 93
Total Expenditure 4895 6435 3695 5105 1486 1948
Net Living Wage 2576 3387 2053 2836 1486 1948
Gross Living Wage 2911 3827 2320 3205 1679 2201

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.

Family Living Wages (monthly rates in ZMW)

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 + 5.4 children, 1.9 working) 2910 3830
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 2320 3210
Two parents and two children, 2 working 2090 2890
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 2790 3850
Two parents and two children, 1 working 4180 5770
Two parents and three children, 1.9 working 2410 3270
Two parents and four children, 1.9 working 2610 3510
Single-adult without children, 1 working 1680 2200

Note: Results in the table are rounded.

Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in ZMW)

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 . . . . . . . .
Living Wage - Typical Family 2900 3700 2740 3570 2820 3900 2910 3830
Living Wage - Single Adult 1330 1970 1390 2020 1370 2140 1680 2200
Real wage of low-skilled worker 1070 1330 . . 980 1490 1630 2170
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 2570 4300 2420 4510 1980 3730 2630 4150
Real wage of high-skilled worker 4900 8050 4640 8310 4120 7260 4610 7190

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 ZMW

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 41 117 10 14
Rice 9 33 12 14
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 43 70 28 35
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 15 127 18.5 21.5
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 30 105 9.8 12
Maize and products 360 1107 12 12
Milk - Excluding Butter 29 17 10 12
Vegetables, Other 64 17 10 14
Potatoes and products 7 6 5 10
Butter, Ghee 1 7 25 28
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 15 80 10 10
Pulses, Other and products 5 18 . .
Cassava and products 212 234 6 7
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 10 12 200 10
Sunflowerseed Oil 0 1 . .
Fish products 19 12 25 30
Beer 34 14 14 20
Sweeteners, Other 1 4 9.9 10
Beans 0 0 8 10
Sweet potatoes 35 34 5 5
Bananas 1 0 6 10
Soyabeans 22 74 . .
Apples and products 3 1 10 15
Tomatoes and products 6 1 5 10
Onions 9 3 7 10
Oranges, Mandarines 4 1 12 12
Peas 0 0 15 25
Roots, Other 0 0 10 18
Seeds and kernels 1 2 . .
Wine 0 0 33.3 46.7
Cream 0 0 12 20
Honey 0 0 39 47
Citrus, Other 0 0 12 20
Lemons, Limes and products 0 0 5 10
Tea (including mate) 0 0 15 18
Grapefruit and products 0 0 20 23
Coffee and products 1 1 17 19

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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