Have you ever wondered what the minimum salary is in the European Union countries? I definitely did and I decided to investigate things thoroughly and share my results with you in today’s article. (There’s also one on average wages in the EU if interested)
I always like to look at the average wage in a country in order to decide how expensive visiting it or living there would be. At least in theory, the minimum salary should be enough to allow a person to live in that particular country. In reality, things are a bit different, but the idea is that a country’s cost of living is much lower if the minimum wage is 100 Euros, while one with a 1,000 Euro minimum wage is way more expensive.
Now, actually gathering the data when so many countries are involved is a bit more difficult than anticipated. This is made even more difficult by the fact that not all countries in the European Union have an official minimum wage set by the government. This is the case of countries like Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden.
For this case, I use estimates based on my research on forums and local websites – but the actual values might be a bit different from country to country.
Also, the minimum wages are changing constantly in the European Union countries in order to keep up with inflation and economic growth, but these values are researched and correct (in my opinion) for 2019. I doubt that the minimum wage will increase (or decrease) a lot over the next few years, so these numbers should be solid for some time.
Have in mind that the numbers below are all in Euros and are, to my best knowledge, net salary values (so the money you earn and get in your hand when the month is over). Also, not all countries in the EU are using the Euro, so actual values in local currency might be more or less, depending on the actual exchange rates.
Now, with all these in mind, let’s check out below the minimum salaries in the European Union, ranked from the highest to the lowest:
1. Luxembourg: €1,700
2. Denmark: €1,600
3. Sweden: €1,550
4. Finland: €1,500
5. Ireland: €1,500
6. Netherlands: €1,430
7. France: €1,350
8. United Kingdom: €1,250 (they’re still an EU member when writing this)
9. Belgium: €1,215
10. Germany: €1,150
11. Austria: €1,050
12. Spain: €1,000
13. Italy: €900
14. Cyprus: €800
15. Portugal: €700
16. Greece: €680
17. Slovenia: €670
18. Malta: €570
19. Estonia: €520
20. Slovakia: €450
21. Czechia: €430
22. Croatia: €405
23. Lithuania: €400
24. Poland: €380
25. Latvia: €360
26. Hungary: €355
27. Romania: €265
28. Bulgaria: €235
If we create an average of all these minimum salaries in the European Union countries, we could say that the minimum wage in the EU is 872 Euros (with 15 countries under this amount and 13 over). Once the UK leaves the EU, things will change a bit and the average minimum salary in the EU will be 858 Euros, with just 12 countries over the average.
However, this number is just for fun, as it doesn’t really have any value when the lowest minimum salary is over 7 times less than the maximum minimum salary.
However, knowing the minimum values that I have listed above should be extremely helpful in showing which countries are the cheapest to live in the European Union and where you can expect to earn more for the same amount of work.
This does not mean that you would be able to live comfortably in Bulgaria with a budget of 235 Euros per month. However, as we go up the list, things get a bit easier: for example living in France on a minimum salary gives you a better life than earning the minimum in the bottom 10 countries. The 1,000 Euros per month in Spain or the 900 Euros per month in Italy could also see you live a relatively decent life as well.
What I am trying to say is that there are many things to consider when it comes minimum wages and cost of living and these absolutely minimum values should be looked at considering the big picture.
But it is obvious that traveling to or moving to Poloand, Hungary or Romania (or any of the countries towards the bottom) is a lot cheaper than visiting or moving to Luxembourg, Denmark or the top ranked ones.
Now these would be the minimum salaries in the countries in the European Union. If you live in one of these countries and you notice that the actual values that I have quoted are wrong, please let me know so that I can correct them.