Living Wage Series - Zambia - January 2018 - In Zambian Kwacha, 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 Zambian Kwacha)

  Typical family Standard family Single-adult
  from-to from-to from-to
Food 2460-2820 1330-1520 330-380
Housing 1250-2000 1250-2000 825-1290
Transport 300-465 300-465 150-230
Health 500-1000 500-1000 125-250
Education 250-800 250-800 0
Other costs 240-355 180-290 72-105
Total Expenditure 5000-7440 3810-6075 1502-2255
Net Living Wage 2632-3916 2117-3375 1502-2255
Gross Living Wage 3000-4470 2420-3850 1710-2570

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.


Family Living Wages (monthly rates in Zambian Kwacha)

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 + 5.4 children, 1.9 working) 3000-4470
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 2420-3850
Two parents and two children, 2 working 2170-3470
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 2900-4620
Two parents and two children, 1 working 4350-6930
Two parents and three children, 1.9 working 2500-3890
Two parents and four children, 1.9 working 2710-4130
Single-adult without children, 1 working 1710-2570

Note: Results in the table are rounded.


Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in Zambian Kwacha)

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 . . . .
Living Wage - Single Adult .-. .-. .-. 1710-2570
Living Wage - Typical Family .-. .-. .-. 3000-4470
Real wage of low-skilled worker 1560-2180 1180-1380 1320-1830 1680-2340
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 3510-5440 2680-4250 2320-4020 2640-4260
Real wage of high-skilled worker 10400-15000 5370-8870 4420-8040 5440-9130

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 Zambian Kwacha

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 41 117 10-14
Rice 9 33 12-13
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 43 70 28-35
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 15 127 19-23
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 30 105 9.5-12
Maize and products 360 1107 12-12
Milk - Excluding Butter 29 17 10-12
Vegetables, Other 64 17 10-14
Potatoes and products 7 6 5-10
Butter, Ghee 1 7 25-28
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 15 80 10-10
Pulses, Other and products 5 18 .-.
Cassava and products 212 234 6-7
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 10 12 10-10
Sunflowerseed Oil 0 1 .-.
Fish products 19 12 25-30
Beer 34 14 14-20
Sweeteners, Other 1 4 9.9-10
Beans 0 0 8-10
Sweet potatoes 35 34 5-5
Bananas 1 0 6-9.5
Soyabeans 22 74 .-.
Apples and products 3 1 10-15
Tomatoes and products 6 1 5-10
Onions 9 3 7-10
Oranges, Mandarines 4 1 12-12
Peas 0 0 15-20
Seeds and kernels 1 2 .-.
Wine 0 0 33-47
Cream 0 0 12-20
Citrus, Other 0 0 12-20
Lemons, Limes and products 0 0 5-10
Tea (including mate) 0 0 15-18
Grapefruit and products 0 0 20-23
Coffee and products 1 1 17-19


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.