Living Wage Series - Guatemala - December 2018 - In Quetzal, 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 Quetzal)

  Typical family Standard family Single-adult
  from-to from-to from-to
Food 1320-1910 995-1440 250-360
Housing 1400-2200 1400-2200 840-1190
Transport 150-200 150-200 75-100
Health 1000-2250 1000-2250 250-565
Education 450-750 450-750 0
Other costs 215-365 200-340 71-110
Total Expenditure 4535-7675 4195-7180 1486-2323
Net Living Wage 2668-4515 2331-3989 1486-2323
Gross Living Wage 2880-4880 2520-4310 1610-2510

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.


Family Living Wages (monthly rates in Quetzal)

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 + 3.3 children, 1.7 working) 2880-4880
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 2520-4310
Two parents and two children, 2 working 2270-3880
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 3020-5170
Two parents and two children, 1 working 4530-7760
Two parents and three children, 1.7 working 2840-4810
Two parents and four children, 1.7 working 3000-5050
Single-adult without children, 1 working 1610-2510

Note: Results in the table are rounded.


Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in Quetzal)

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 2201 2277 2417 2508
Living Wage - Single Adult - - - 1610-2510
Living Wage - Typical Family - - - 2880-4880
Real wage of low-skilled worker 2500-3280 2570-3290 2700-3430 2970-3670
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 2920-4040 3020-4080 3190-4340 3310-4340
Real wage of high-skilled worker 4710-7880 4840-7800 4980-8030 5100-7980

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.

Guatemala Graph

Food basket and food prices in Quetzal

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 92 258 10-17
Rice 14 47 4-5
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 69 89 20-28
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 16 141 12-16
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 115 408 5-10
Maize and products 212 728 2-3
Milk - Excluding Butter 113 67 8.5-10
Vegetables, Other 85 22 4-6
Potatoes and products 26 13 4-5
Butter, Ghee 3 20 11-31
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 8 20 40-60
Pulses, Other and products 7 23 28-40
Cassava and products 3 3 4-5
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 36 46 12-13
Sunflowerseed Oil 2 20 15-24
Fish products 3 2 20-30
Beer (0.5 liter/pint) 27 10 16-20
Sweeteners, Other 2 6 -
Beans 29 99 12-20
Sweet potatoes 0 0 5-10
Bananas 13 8 5.5-10
Soyabeans 1 3 13-18
Apples and products 3 2 8-10
Tomatoes and products 36 8 3.5-5
Onions 18 7 4-5
Oranges, Mandarines 39 12 8-10
Plantains 7 5 5-8
Peas 0 1 24-40
Roots, Other 0 0 8-10
Seeds and kernels 3 15 20-48
Wine (bottle) 1 0 67-80
Pineapples and products 20 7 -
Cream 1 2 20-40
Olives (including preserved) 0 1 -
Honey 0 0 15-20
Citrus, Other 1 0 2-4
Lemons, Limes and products 18 3 3.5-5
Tea (including mate) 0 0 15-15
Grapefruit and products 0 0 3-4
Coffee and products 7 4 24-38


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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