Living Wage Series - Australia - December 2018 - In Australian Dollar, 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 in more than 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 Australian Dollar)

  Typical family Standard family Single-adult
  from-to from-to from-to
Food 950-1330 975-1360 245-340
Housing 750-1400 750-1400 500-870
Transport 200-290 200-290 100-145
Health 185-430 185-430 47-110
Education 160-485 160-485 0
Other costs 110-195 115-200 45-73
Total Expenditure 2355-4130 2385-4165 936-1536
Net Living Wage 1472-2581 1325-2314 936-1536
Gross Living Wage 1740-3050 1570-2730 1110-1810

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.


Family Living Wages (monthly rates in Australian Dollar)

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.

Typical family (two parents + 1.9 children, 1.6 working) 1740-3050
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 1570-2730
Two parents and two children, 2 working 1410-2460
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 1880-3280
Two parents and two children, 1 working 2820-4920
Two parents and three children, 1.6 working 1950-3340
Two parents and four children, 1.6 working 2140-3600
Single-adult without children, 1 working 1110-1810

Note: Results in the table are rounded.


Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in Australian Dollar)

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.

  2015 2016 2017 2018
Minimum wage 2699 2847 2915 3117
Living Wage - Single Adult 1200-1850 1230-1860 1220-1870 1110-1820
Living Wage - Typical Family 1960-3140 1980-3150 1950-3170 1740-3050
Real wage of low-skilled worker - - - 2330-2770
Real wage of medium-skilled worker - - - 3230-4000
Real wage of high-skilled worker - - - 4650-6140

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.

Australia Graph

Food basket and food prices in Australian Dollar

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
Wheat, barley and cereals products 130 396 4-6
Rice 20 67 2.2-3
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 225 331 10-14
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 38 332 2.5-5
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 66 244 1-2
Maize and products 9 28 -
Milk - Excluding Butter 426 225 1-1.5
Vegetables, Other 115 34 2.5-5
Potatoes and products 99 57 3-3.5
Butter, Ghee 13 90 10-16
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 20 50 -
Pulses, Other and products 1 5 4-8
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 15 21 3.3-4.2
Sunflowerseed Oil 4 32 -
Fish products 48 28 20-25
Beer (0.5 liter/pint) 162 58 8-10
Sweeteners, Other 17 8 2.3-2.5
Beans 0 0 4-8
Sweet potatoes 3 2 4-4.4
Bananas 27 17 2.1-3
Soyabeans 0 1 -
Apples and products 42 12 4-4.4
Tomatoes and products 53 10 4-5
Onions 19 6 2-2
Oranges, Mandarines 28 8 2.5-4
Peas 1 3 -
Seeds and kernels 0 1 -
Wine (bottle) 35 24 13-20
Pineapples and products 9 5 -
Cream 1 1 9.5-16
Olives (including preserved) 5 5 10-16
Honey 1 3 6-9
Citrus, Other 0 0 4-5
Lemons, Limes and products 3 1 5-8
Tea (including mate) 1 1 -
Grapefruit and products 1 0 14-14
Coffee and products 9 3 10-13


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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