Costa Rica is the country with the highest minimum monthly wage in Latin America. According to the minimum salary established by law as of January 2024, workers in the Central American country enjoy a basic monthly wage of over 687 U.S. dollars, an increase of 1.83 percent compared to the previous year and over 100 U.S. dollars more than the second place, Uruguay. On the other side of the spectrum is Venezuela, where employees are only guaranteed by law a minimum salary of 130 bolívares or little more than three dollars per month.
Can Latin Americans survive on a minimum wage?
Even if most countries in Latin America have instated laws to guarantee citizens a basic income, these minimum standards are often not enough to meet household needs. For instance, it was estimated that almost 25 million people in Mexico lacked basic housing services. Salary levels also vary greatly among Latin American economies. In 2020, the average net monthly salary in Mexico was barely higher than Chile's minimum wage in 2021.
What can a minimum wage afford in Latin America?
Latin American real wages have generally risen in the past decade. However, consumers in this region still struggle to afford non-basic goods, such as tech products. Recent estimates reveal that, in order to buy an iPhone, Brazilian residents would have to work at least two months to be able to pay for it. A gaming console, on the other hand, could easily cost a Latin American worker several minimum wages.