September 20, 2011

Minimum Wage by Nation in U.S. Dollars

Wikipedia has a list of the minimum wages by nation.  They give the values in the base rate for the country and then convert it into a "international dollar" figure which is an artificial figure used by economists and as a % of GDP per capita.  Neither of those figures mean too much to most people.   I figured it would be useful to translate the minimum wages into U.S. dollar (USD) figures instead since that has more meaning to most of us.

I used the currency converter and used those figures to translate to USD.    I got the data on August 5th.   I did the research on this one a while ago so thats why its a little old.  Of course currency exchange rates do fluctuate daily so those conversions are now out of date.   There isn't a large difference in exchange rates within a month so its still pretty close..  But at least this gives us a reasonable snapshot as of August 5th, 2011.   Also keep in mind that the laws in each nation change every so often and its likely that the data in the Wikipedia article is either already out of date as I write this or soon to be out of date for one or more nations.

Note : There is extra detail in minimum wages for each nation that isn't reflected here. I simply lifted the numbers from wikipedia and then converted them to US currency.   There is undoubtedly various rules that apply to minimum wages like how in the USA servers who get tips can get less than the full minimum.  Some nations have a minimum age of 21 years to get the full minimum wage and some minimum wages vary from industry to industry.

Here are the minimum wages per hour in USD ranked from low to high graphically :

click on image to see full size

Here's a list of the minimum wages per hour in USD in table format:

Australia  $   14.88
Luxembourg  $   14.01
France  $   12.85
Belgium  $   12.63
Netherlands  $   11.52
New Zealand  $   10.96
Ireland  $   10.92
U.K.  $    9.72
Japan  $    8.15
Canada  $    8.14
USA  $    7.25
Greece  $    6.60
Spain  $    5.72
Saudi Arabia  $    5.00
S. Korea  $    4.08
Taiwan  $    3.84
Poland  $    3.07
Brazil  $    2.15
Venezuela  $    2.05
Honduras  $    1.83
Iran  $    1.78
Jamaica   $    1.32
Algeria  $    1.29
Belize  $    1.26
Dominican Republic  $    0.81
Nigeria  $    0.73
Mexico  $    0.57
Philippines  $    0.52
Pakistan  $    0.51
Vietnam  $    0.24
Switzerland NONE
Austria NONE

The fact that Switzerland and Austria have no minimum wage should not be taken to mean they have low wages.   Australias minimum wage seems pretty high at $14.88 USD/hr.     But again I'm sure theres more to the story on many of the minimum wage figures.

I'm not going to make any kind of conclusions from this.  I'm discussing it just because I think its interesting data  to see how minimum wages vary around the world.


  1. Australia is now at $15.51 per hr AUD ($16.38 USD)

  2. Canada is higher than listed here also.

  3. Keep in mind this is a moving target in two ways. 1) I converted the numbers to US dollars and currency exchange rates fluctuate over time. Because of that alone, these numbers are all obsolete. 2) laws change and the minimum wages typically go up over time.

    I am not going to update this list over time.
    Its just a snapshot of one point.



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