The NAR Big Mac Index

The Big Mac Index compares the value of different currencies and their purchasing power.

I thought it’d be interesting to compare our countries when it comes to wages and cost of living. It seems to vary so much and I’m plainly curious what the situation is like where you live.

In your country, what is:

  • The minimal wage
  • The poverty line / middle class limits
  • The cost of a Big Mac

Feel free to add any other interesting things.

I live in Germany

  • The minimal wage is 10,45€/hour (brutto). This will be raised to 12€/h in October

  • For a single-person household a netto salary below 1074€/month is considered to be “poverty endangered”. Middle class is 1620 - 3040€/month netto.

  • The nation wide average square meter price for a rental appartement up to 80m² is 8,20€/m² (2021). This varies strongly depending on where you live. In Munich this would be over 30€/m², in Wilhelmshafen it’s 6,42 € pro m².

  • A big mac costs 5,29€


The national living wage (I think this is a spin on minimum wage) in Scotland is age dependent, I’ve attached the table I found.

Our local McDonalds prices a Big Mac at £3.59, seemingly this is 10p more than the national average.

I’m not sure what the starting point of a middle class income is, most of the data I looked at said that there are too many factors for it to be a simple case of middle class earners have salaries between £x and £y. However someone on Quora suggested a salary of about £33k per annum would be indicative.

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Indian laws don’t have an ‘hourly’ minimum wage, but they have a daily and/or monthly minimum wage depending on the central (aka federal) guidelines and state guidelines. In the case of monthly wages, the daily wage is arrived at by dividing the monthly wage by 26 days of work. One day = 8 hours of work.

The minimum wage is also different based on the location of work done - Urban, Semi-Urban and Rural areas, to address the cost of living differences within those areas. It also is defined as per the skill-set of the workers, like high-skilled, skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled (among others). This is not a definition of the worker, but rather the task involved. If the task requires a semi-skilled worker but a high-skilled worker is performing it, they will be due only the semi-skilled worker rate as per law.

I’m using the Euro for conversion this time around since the USD($) and Euro(€) are almost at par when converting with INR(₹) currency rates at present.

€1 = ₹80 (rounded off decimal)

On to the data:

  • The minimal wage
    The absolute minimal wage I’ve come across in my area is ₹408/, which is roughly €8. Hourly would be €1 if only for comparing apples to apples per se. This is a rate for an unskilled worker in a rural area.

  • The poverty line / middle class limits
    Indian thresholds define rural poverty at an expense level of ₹26/person/day and urban poverty levels at ₹32/person/day. Thus, if a family cannot exceed that level of expense per day on its income, that family is poor. That number comes out to be between €40-€50/household/month considering a 4-member average family.
    The middle-class band is defined as earning ₹200,000 - ₹1,000,000 annually. Which is €208 to €1041/household/month.

  • The cost of a Big Mac
    Mcdonald’s doesn’t sell Big Mac burgers in India - the sale of beef and beef products is unlawful in most states and highly regulated and politically fraught in the rest. The nearest equivalent is the Maharaja Mac, which is a large chicken burger. That retails for ₹225 pretty much everywhere. Another premium burger retails for ₹275. That comes out to be between €2.75 - €3.50.
    Point to note: McD in India is a comparatively aspirational restaurant chain, not the ubiquitous one per se in US/Europe. The equivalent food products to that would retail around ₹10-₹20. I’m still keeping the McD rates as valid for now.

To summarise:

  • The minimal wage: €1/hour (Actually €8/day)
  • The poverty line: €40-€50 / household/month
  • The middle-class band: €208 - €1041 / household/month
  • The cost of a B̶i̶g̶ Maharaja Mac: €2.75 - €3.50

The federal minimum wage in Canada is $15.55, but this only applies to federally regulated employees. The provincial minimum wage is $12.75 where I live. The low income line average (they calculate in 50 locations) is $37,500. A Big Mac is $6.79 CAD.

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@Sillsallad January 2022

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News item just come in:

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