Living Wage Series - El Salvador - December 2018 - In US 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 US Dollar)

  Typical family Standard family Single-adult
  from-to from-to from-to
Food 230-310 230-310 58-77
Housing 140-160 140-160 90-115
Transport 145-160 145-160 71-81
Health 40-50 40-50 10-13
Education 50-75 50-75 0
Other costs 30-38 30-38 11-14
Total Expenditure 635-793 635-793 240-300
Net Living Wage 374-466 353-441 240-300
Gross Living Wage 415-520 390-490 265-330

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.


Family Living Wages (monthly rates in US 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 + 2 children, 1.7 working) 415-520
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 390-490
Two parents and two children, 2 working 350-440
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 470-585
Two parents and two children, 1 working 705-880
Two parents and three children, 1.7 working 455-570
Two parents and four children, 1.7 working 495-625
Single-adult without children, 1 working 265-330

Note: Results in the table are rounded.


Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in US 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 118 118 200 200
Living Wage - Single Adult 225-305 255-335 270-325 265-335
Living Wage - Typical Family 375-515 410-545 425-530 415-520
Real wage of low-skilled worker 255-315 220-270 265-315 265-325
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 305-430 310-440 320-435 330-460
Real wage of high-skilled worker 505-795 520-810 530-800 535-820

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.

El Salvador Graph

Food basket and food prices in US 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 103 334 2-2.2
Rice 24 86 .6-.9
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 68 90 3-4
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 10 90 1.5-2.1
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 91 324 .9-1
Maize and products 160 551 2-3
Milk - Excluding Butter 285 163 1.3-1.8
Vegetables, Other 99 26 1.3-2
Potatoes and products 33 23 1-1
Butter, Ghee 9 68 4-5.3
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 19 30 2.3-2.4
Pulses, Other and products 0 0 1.5-2
Cassava and products 15 13 1.8-2
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 22 28 1.3-1.7
Sunflowerseed Oil 1 11 -
Fish products 15 12 3-4
Beer (0.5 liter/pint) 52 19 2.4-3.4
Sweeteners, Other 3 10 .4-.9
Beans 40 134 1.2-2
Sweet potatoes 0 0 .5-.5
Bananas 15 9 1-1.5
Soyabeans 2 6 2-3.7
Apples and products 2 1 1-2.6
Tomatoes and products 34 8 1-1
Onions 10 4 1-1
Oranges, Mandarines 36 9 1-1
Plantains 30 25 1-1.1
Peas 0 0 2-2.5
Roots, Other 14 15 1-1
Seeds and kernels 1 7 5.5-9.6
Wine (bottle) 1 1 7.7-9.3
Pineapples and products 1 1 -
Cream 0 0 2-2.5
Olives (including preserved) 0 0 .5-.5
Honey 0 0 2-4
Citrus, Other 0 0 1-1
Lemons, Limes and products 2 0 1-2
Tea (including mate) 0 0 2-3
Grapefruit and products 0 0 1-1.5
Coffee and products 5 3 2-3.7


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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