Living Wage Series - Ethiopia - January 2018 - In Ethiopian Birr, 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 Ethiopian Birr)

  Typical family Standard family Single-adult
  from-to from-to from-to
Food 510-830 315-510 78-130
Housing 2500-3500 2500-3500 1040-1800
Transport 565-1000 565-1000 280-500
Health 100-500 100-500 25-125
Education 12-500 12-500 0
Other costs 185-315 175-300 71-125
Total Expenditure 3872-6645 3667-6310 1494-2680
Net Living Wage 2038-3497 2037-3506 1494-2680
Gross Living Wage 2670-4580 2670-4590 1960-3510

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.


Family Living Wages (monthly rates in Ethiopian Birr)

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 + 4.5 children, 1.9 working) 2670-4580
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 2670-4590
Two parents and two children, 2 working 2400-4140
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 3210-5510
Two parents and two children, 1 working 4810-8270
Two parents and three children, 1.9 working 2590-4450
Two parents and four children, 1.9 working 2640-4540
Single-adult without children, 1 working 1960-3510

Note: Results in the table are rounded.


Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in Ethiopian Birr)

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 420 420 420 420
Living Wage - Single Adult .-. .-. .-. 1960-3510
Living Wage - Typical Family .-. .-. .-. 2670-4580
Real wage of low-skilled worker 1150-1720 1260-1780 1000-1530 2540-4110
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 1610-2490 1710-2510 1520-2400 3010-4880
Real wage of high-skilled worker 2200-3090 2570-3420 2490-3560 4370-6500

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 Ethiopian Birr

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 290 940 2-4
Rice 6 22 1.5-2
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 23 41 6-7
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 8 69 .-.
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 17 59 .-.
Maize and products 115 397 .-.
Milk - Excluding Butter 121 72 1-1
Vegetables, Other 42 15 10-15
Potatoes and products 18 12 .6-.8
Butter, Ghee 1 10 .-.
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 3 14 .-.
Pulses, Other and products 28 96 .-.
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 1 1 1-1.1
Fish products 1 0 4-4.7
Beer 24 12 2.4-4.3
Beans 6 20 .-.
Sweet potatoes 39 36 .-.
Bananas 8 5 .8-1
Soyabeans 1 4 .-.
Yams 28 28 .-.
Apples and products 0 0 3-4
Tomatoes and products 1 0 5-5
Onions 6 2 1-1
Oranges, Mandarines 1 0 25-30
Peas 10 34 .-.
Roots, Other 136 204 .-.
Seeds and kernels 0 2 .-.
Wine 0 0 4.3-6.7
Cream 0 0 1-1.6
Olives (including preserved) 0 2 .-.
Honey 1 4 .-.
Lemons, Limes and products 0 0 1-1
Coffee and products 2 1 .-.


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.