Living Wage Series - Costa Rica - December 2018 - In Costa Rican Colon, 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 Costa Rican Colon)

  Typical family Standard family Single-adult
  from-to from-to from-to
Food 166300-202600 175000-213200 43800-53300
Housing 160000-240000 160000-240000 88900-140000
Transport 160-200 160-200 80-100
Health 20000-30000 20000-30000 5000-7500
Education 30000-50000 30000-50000 0
Other costs 18800-26100 19300-26700 6890-10100
Total Expenditure 395260-548900 404460-560100 144670-211000
Net Living Wage 232506-322882 224700-311167 144670-211000
Gross Living Wage 255800-355200 247200-342300 159100-232100

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.


Family Living Wages (monthly rates in Costa Rican Colon)

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, 1.7 working) 255800-355200
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 247200-342300
Two parents and two children, 2 working 222500-308100
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 296600-410700
Two parents and two children, 1 working 444900-616100
Two parents and three children, 1.7 working 291500-398700
Two parents and four children, 1.7 working 321100-434900
Single-adult without children, 1 working 159100-232100

Note: Results in the table are rounded.


Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in Costa Rican Colon)

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 283800 286467 293132 300256
Living Wage - Single Adult - - - 159100-232100
Living Wage - Typical Family - - - 255800-355200
Real wage of low-skilled worker 261300-323400 257600-318900 259300-306900 274800-330900
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 328400-406700 347700-435100 349200-430300 352800-433500
Real wage of high-skilled worker 515800-722000 543100-766500 537100-742700 547200-754300

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.

Costa Rica Graph

Food basket and food prices in Costa Rican Colon

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 93 269 1000-1200
Rice 97 331 1000-1200
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 110 133 3000-3700
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 29 254 1000-1188
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 107 379 825-1000
Maize and products 23 78 675-1000
Milk - Excluding Butter 388 228 575-642
Vegetables, Other 40 13 720-1000
Potatoes and products 33 20 800-1000
Butter, Ghee 11 80 1100-1730
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 6 17 1000-2500
Pulses, Other and products 1 3 1200-2000
Cassava and products 9 9 750-1000
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 22 29 1170-1250
Sunflowerseed Oil 2 14 1150-1500
Fish products 27 19 4000-4500
Beer (0.5 liter/pint) 27 10 1600-2420
Sweeteners, Other 4 14 900-1200
Beans 21 72 1080-1200
Sweet potatoes 0 0 800-1000
Bananas 1 1 600-1000
Soyabeans 3 11 4500-4500
Yams 2 2 500-602
Apples and products 18 5 1500-1800
Tomatoes and products 49 12 800-1000
Onions 16 6 720-1000
Oranges, Mandarines 62 13 1000-1325
Plantains 34 29 1000-1000
Peas 0 1 1000-2000
Roots, Other 9 9 800-1000
Seeds and kernels 0 1 350-500
Wine (bottle) 4 3 5330-7000
Pineapples and products 62 26 -
Olives (including preserved) 0 0 1300-1300
Honey 1 2 2000-3000
Citrus, Other 0 0 1000-1250
Lemons, Limes and products 14 2 800-1000
Tea (including mate) 0 0 520-580
Grapefruit and products 9 2 1000-1300
Coffee and products 5 2 1800-3000


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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