Living Wage Series - Costa Rica - January 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 164500-201000 173200-211600 43300-52900
Housing 150000-200000 150000-200000 100000-126300
Transport 42600-74700 42600-74700 21300-37400
Health 16000-30000 16000-30000 4000-7500
Education 25000-50000 25000-50000 0
Other costs 19900-27800 20300-28300 8430-11200
Total Expenditure 418000-583500 427100-594600 177030-235300
Net Living Wage 245882-343235 237278-330333 177030-235300
Gross Living Wage 270500-377600 261000-363400 194700-258800

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.

  from-to
Typical family (two parents + 1.8 children, 1.7 working) 270500-377600
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 261000-363400
Two parents and two children, 2 working 234900-327000
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 313200-436000
Two parents and two children, 1 working 469800-654100
Two parents and three children, 1.7 working 305700-420700
Two parents and four children, 1.7 working 335200-456600
Single-adult without children, 1 working 194700-258800

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 .-. .-. .-. 194700-258800
Living Wage - Typical Family .-. .-. .-. 270500-377600
Real wage of low-skilled worker 241000-299700 272600-339500 249300-298000 250400-296600
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 324800-408200 334600-418500 354500-437400 344100-428700
Real wage of high-skilled worker 513400-728400 529700-748400 549700-762500 535400-748700

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.


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 itemGrams per dayEnergy (kcal)Price per kilo
Wheat, barley and cereals products 94 272 1000-1200
Rice 98 335 1000-1200
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 111 135 3000-3700
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 29 257 1000-1175
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 108 384 900-1000
Maize and products 23 79 600-1000
Milk - Excluding Butter 393 231 575-642
Vegetables, Other 41 13 720-1000
Potatoes and products 33 20 800-1000
Butter, Ghee 11 81 1000-1600
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 6 17 500-1000
Pulses, Other and products 1 3 1000-1300
Cassava and products 10 9 750-1000
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 23 30 1170-1250
Sunflowerseed Oil 2 14 1200-1650
Fish products 28 20 4000-4500
Beer 27 10 1600-2420
Sweeteners, Other 4 14 900-1200
Beans 22 73 1080-1200
Sweet potatoes 0 0 800-900
Bananas 1 1 600-1000
Soyabeans 3 11 1500-4500
Yams 2 2 500-602
Apples and products 18 5 1500-1800
Tomatoes and products 49 13 800-1000
Onions 16 6 750-1000
Oranges, Mandarines 63 13 1000-1250
Plantains 34 29 800-1000
Peas 0 1 600-1000
Roots, Other 9 9 800-1000
Seeds and kernels 0 1 350-450
Wine 4 3 5330-7400
Olives (including preserved) 0 0 350-1050
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 6 2 1600-3000


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.