Living Wage Series - Belgium - December 2018 - In Euro, 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 Euro)

  Typical family Standard family Single-adult
  from-to from-to from-to
Food 425-595 445-630 110-155
Housing 785-865 785-865 490-540
Transport 96-98 96-98 48-49
Health 78-100 78-100 19-25
Education 85-100 85-100 0
Other costs 73-88 74-90 33-39
Total Expenditure 1542-1846 1563-1883 701-808
Net Living Wage 964-1154 868-1046 701-808
Gross Living Wage 1300-1560 1170-1410 945-1090

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.


Family Living Wages (monthly rates in Euro)

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 + 1.8 children, 1.6 working) 1300-1560
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 1170-1410
Two parents and two children, 2 working 1060-1270
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 1410-1700
Two parents and two children, 1 working 2110-2540
Two parents and three children, 1.6 working 1420-1730
Two parents and four children, 1.6 working 1520-1870
Single-adult without children, 1 working 945-1090

Note: Results in the table are rounded.


Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in Euro)

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 1502 1532 1563 1563
Living Wage - Single Adult 895-1080 870-1050 955-1110 945-1090
Living Wage - Typical Family 1300-1600 1250-1520 1330-1590 1300-1560
Real wage of low-skilled worker 1570-1860 1590-1860 1640-1900 1690-1950
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 1920-2270 1960-2330 1990-2350 2040-2390
Real wage of high-skilled worker 2430-2970 2500-3070 2500-3050 2550-3090

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.

Belgium Graph

Food basket and food prices in Euro

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 177 459 2.1-3.6
Rice 14 52 1.2-2
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 115 159 7-10
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 30 258 2-3
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 75 268 1-2
Maize and products 3 8 2-3
Milk - Excluding Butter 371 217 .6-.8
Vegetables, Other 163 57 1.8-2.4
Potatoes and products 147 99 1-1.2
Butter, Ghee 28 202 4-6
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 16 37 5-7
Pulses, Other and products 0 1 3-4
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 20 28 1.2-1.8
Sunflowerseed Oil 3 26 1.6-2.5
Fish products 40 38 11-15
Beer (0.5 liter/pint) 118 58 3.5-4.5
Sweeteners, Other 6 13 1-2
Beans 1 3 2-3
Bananas 7 4 1.5-2
Soyabeans 0 0 4.8-5
Yams 0 0 3.1-4
Apples and products 38 11 1.5-2
Tomatoes and products 46 10 1.5-2
Onions 5 2 1-1.3
Oranges, Mandarines 11 3 2-2.5
Plantains 2 2 1.6-2
Peas 3 10 3-4
Roots, Other 0 0 1.3-2
Seeds and kernels 0 3 4-7
Wine (bottle) 43 31 6.7-8
Pineapples and products 4 2 -
Cream 15 30 3.6-5
Olives (including preserved) 1 1 5-8
Honey 1 3 4-6.8
Citrus, Other 0 0 2-3
Lemons, Limes and products 3 1 2-3
Tea (including mate) 1 0 7-10
Grapefruit and products 2 1 2-2
Coffee and products 12 6 5-7


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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