Minimum Wages in Latin America for 2024 | Highest and Lowest

With the beginning of 2024, the salaries of several Latin American countries have been announced for this year. It is clear, inflation and high interest rates have had a great influence on salaries in this region during 2023. Therefore, in this article, we will take a look at the official announcements that governments have made on this topic of interest for this year.

We invite you to see the list of minimum salaries for different Latin American countries. Which is the highest and which is the lowest?

Economic factors that determine the economy in each country

Before stating the different minimum salaries that some countries in Latin America will have for 2024, it is necessary to indicate some issues. First of all, it is essential to understand that the economy of each country is unique and is subject to different variables that influence salaries.

For example, interest rates and inflation are two critical factors that affect wage performance. This is stated in the report Preliminary Balance of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2023. Likewise, this document also highlights that the reduction in inflation and increases in minimum wages had consequences.

As which? Among others, there was an increase in real terms in 12 of the 20 economies in the region during the first half of the previous year. In that sense, by the end of 2023, most governments in the region decreed increases in the minimum wage. Of course, the increases occurred amid forecasts of the slowdown of the region’s economies.

This is what the minimum wages will be like in some Latin American countries: the highest and the lowest

The specialized portal Bloomberg Linea took on the task of compiling official announcements on minimum wages in Latin America for 2024. The aforementioned media referenced the figures set by the minimum wages and not the average wages of each country. In the list, the cases of Mexico and the Dominican Republic stand out as the countries with the greatest growth in this item (20 and 19.5% respectively).

In this way, the Aztec country reached its second consecutive year having the same increase in its minimum wage. Taking it to the local currency, this amount represents approximately 7,468 Mexican pesos. Likewise, taking into account that these measurements are usually taken in dollars, the above is equivalent to US$439, as the minimum wage for this nation.

Another detail that is worth highlighting is the case of Brazil, a country in which there was an increase in the minimum wage of 6.97% (for a total of 1,412 reais). This represents an amount that is approximately equivalent to $290, according to the most recent quotes. Despite this increase, the legal minimum income of a Brazilian worker is among the lowest in the region.

Which country has the highest minimum wage in Latin America?

To talk about the country with the highest minimum wage in Latin America, we must refer to Costa Rica. The Central American nation tops this list with a figure of 697 dollars per month, as of January 2024. For its part, other countries that represent a high income level within the region are Uruguay and Chile.

In the case of the first, the minimum wage exceeds 22,268 Uruguayan pesos, which would be equivalent to about 570 dollars per month. In the Chilean nation, meanwhile, the minimum wage for its workers reached 460,000 Chilean pesos, which represents about 521 dollars. Ecuador, in turn, has a minimum income of 460 dollars, so it only had an increase of US$10 compared to the previous one.

Another of the countries that had a greater percentage increase was Colombia, with 12.0%, which represents a minimum salary of 1,300,000 Colombian pesos. This figure is equivalent to $355, in addition to the 15% increase in transportation assistance. The latter was set at an amount of $162,000, which would be about 48 dollars.

Below is the list of the countries that occupy the first ten places taking into account the highest minimum wages in Latin America (in dollars):

  • Costa Rica: US$687
  • Uruguay: US$570
  • Chile: US$521
  • Ecuador: US$460
  • Mexico: US$440
  • Guatemala: US$417
  • Paraguay: US$367
  • El Salvador: US$365
  • Bolivia: US$342
  • Colombia: US$335

The countries with the lowest minimum wage in Latin America

The other side of the coin is that of the countries in the Latin American region that have the lowest minimum wages. In this case, the last place belongs to Venezuela, which presents an extreme difference with the rest. Speaking of figures, the minimum income for Venezuelan workers is 130 strong bolivars, which is approximately equivalent to less than four dollars.

Another case that has taken on great relevance is that of Argentina, which now has Javier Milei as president. During the previous year, the minimum wage was updated every month, going from ARS$61,953 in December 2022 to ARS$156 last December. However, it should be noted that the minimum wage that Argentines have, at the moment, is 152 dollars.

The following are the remaining countries on the list made by Bloomberg to determine what the minimum wages are for each Latin American nation:

  • Honduras: US$329
  • Panama: US$326
  • Brazil: US$291
  • Peru: US$277
  • Dominican Republic: US$245
  • Argentina: US$152
  • Venezuela: US$3.61

Read Also: Minimum Wage in Canada – Complete and Updated Guide

Final words

Beyond the values ​​and figures corresponding to each country, some points in these lists must be clarified. The first thing is that these are estimates that are based on nominal values, so they are not adjusted based on the purchasing power or cost of living of each economy.

According to this, it is difficult to make comparisons between countries, since in many cases they would turn out to be unfair. Certain factors and the context of each country must be taken into account, then, to make definitive evaluations. For example, there are countries that had increases that may seem high, but that still have a minimum wage well below the first places.

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