Living Wage Series - Kenya -September 2019 - In Kenyan Shilling, 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 70 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 KES)

  Typical family Standard family Single-adult
  from-to from-to from-to
Food expenses 21300-29300 14400-19900 3610-4970
Housing expenses 16100-20000 16100-20000 8620-11000
Transport expenses 6000-6000 6000-6000 3000-3000
Healthcare expenses 3000-5000 3000-5000 750-1250
Education expenses 5000-10000 5000-10000 0
Other expenses 2570-3520 2230-3050 800-1010
Total Expenditure 53970-73820 46730-63950 16780-21230
Net Living Wage 31747-43424 25961-35528 16780-21230
Gross Living Wage 38100-52100 31200-42600 20100-25500

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.


Family Living Wages (monthly rates in KES)

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 + 3.9 children, 1.7 working) 38100-52100
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 31200-42600
Two parents and two children, 2 working 28000-38400
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 37400-51200
Two parents and two children, 1 working 56100-76700
Two parents and three children, 1.7 working 35700-48800
Two parents and four children, 1.7 working 38400-52500
Single-adult without children, 1 working 20100-25500

Note: Results in the table are rounded.


Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in KES)

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.

  2016 2017 2018 2019
Minimum wage 5436 5436 6896 6896
Living Wage - Single Adult 18000-24700 16700-22900 19100-23900 20100-25500
Living Wage - Typical Family 35700-50300 34500-48800 37100-50700 38100-52100
Real wage of low-skilled worker 14600-22000 15100-22600 14300-20800 14700-21000
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 21900-34000 22000-33600 22400-33500 22800-33600
Real wage of high-skilled worker 37100-62100 38700-64100 37200-60100 39400-62500

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 KES

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 104 282 100-100
Rice 34 119 100-120
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 43 77 400-450
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 15 133 130-175
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 122 166 100-120
Maize and products 203 645 60-90
Milk - Excluding Butter 253 159 60-97
Vegetables, Other 101 22 70-100
Potatoes and products 111 79 60-90
Butter, Ghee 2 18 250-280
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 11 24 115-180
Pulses, Other and products 12 41 200-300
Cassava and products 65 68 50-60
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 5 6 125-150
Sunflowerseed Oil 1 5 160-225
Fish products 11 8 390-500
Beer (0.5 liter/pint) 28 12 300-364
Sweeteners, Other 1 4 100-110
Beans 28 95 100-120
Sweet potatoes 62 61 40-80
Bananas 71 43 100-100
Soyabeans 1 2 200-240
Yams 1 1 100-200
Apples and products 1 0 150-299
Tomatoes and products 28 6 80-98
Onions 5 2 80-95
Oranges, Mandarines 7 2 100-200
Plantains 2 2 65-125
Peas 1 3 100-120
Roots, Other 1 1 60-100
Seeds and kernels 1 6 90-170
Wine (bottle) 0 0 533-933
Pineapples and products 4 2 -
Cream 1 2 200-400
Olives (including preserved) 0 0 200-360
Honey 1 2 325-500
Citrus, Other 6 2 70-80
Lemons, Limes and products 1 0 100-140
Tea (including mate) 5 2 150-150
Grapefruit and products 0 0 400-400
Coffee and products 0 0 300-400


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.

WageIndicator useful links:

Publication Guzi, M., & Kahanec, M. (2019). Estimating Living Wage Globally. Amsterdam, WageIndicator Foundation
WageIndicator Wages in Context Map with the latest updates
All You Always wanted to Know about Living Wages