sobering

How many hours of minimum wage work it takes to earn a beer

February 7, 2014
February 7, 2014

hours-beer2

This article has been corrected.

Throwing back a cold one can be a costly affair—especially if you’re living off the minimum wage in a country like Georgia or Bangladesh.

How do we know that? Because we made a Beer Index.

Numbeo, a crowd-sourced database of the price of goods around the world, maintains a comprehensive list of the average price of a domestic draft beer in different countries. And the International Labor Organization (ILO) maintains a vast library of minimum monthly wage data. So we combined the two—into a beer indicator, of sorts.

By dividing the average price a local has to pay to get a beer by the hourly minimum wage (assuming a 40-hour work week) a person makes in each country, we were able to approximate how long it takes someone making the minimum wage to earn enough to buy a brew at a local bar. The Economist did something similar back in 2012, but used countries’ median wages, and only included 27 countries. This one is a bit more comprehensive (and a bit more about the people who make the least.)

Some minimum wages stack up pretty favorably against domestic beer prices, while others do just the opposite. In Georgia, for instance, it takes more than half a day’s worth of work to make enough to pay for a pint. In Puerto Rico, it takes only 12 minutes.

Correction (Feb. 7): Correction: A previous version of the infographic in this article included minimum wage data for Slovakia provided by the ILO that was incorrect. We have updated it with accurate data.

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