Family of two adults, two children need €25,300 to live a decent life, study shows

A new study by the GWU, Moviment Graffitti and Alleanza Kontra l-Faqar has established a national living income for different types of households

A family of two parents and two children needs at least €25,300 to maintain an average standard of living, according to a new study that established the national living income (NLI) for different households.

General Workers’ Union (GWU), Alleanza Kontra l-Faqar, and Moviment Graffitti commissioned the study jointly, with the research carried out by Re-think advisory group.

According to the study, a single person under 65 years old and living by themselves needs at least €12,226 to enjoy a decent lifestyle in Malta.

However, 30.4% of single under-65s with no children do not earn this amount of money.

Single people get the short end of the stick all through. A single parent with one or more dependent children needs anywhere between €16,160 to €21,078 to live adequately. A two-parent household with dependent children would need somewhere between €21,084 and €25,300.

But 76% of the single parent cohort do not earn a living income, while almost 40% of the two-parent household earn less than the established living income.

What is a living income?

The NLI as proposed int his study considers the amount of household income needed not just to avoid poverty but to enjoy an upward shift in human freedom and capability.

The basket of goods used to calculate this threshold includes necessities like groceries and medicine, but also includes non-essential products needed to enjoy an average standard of living in Malta.

Such products include hairdresser appointments, private lessons, streaming subscriptions, gym memberships, and pet food, among others.

“Everyone who works should be as far away as possible from the poverty trap. We’re not just talking about workers, but households. Every household deserves an adequate living,” said Jake Azzopardi from Re-think.

At the launch of the study, Martina Camilleri from Moviment Graffitti compared the living income figures to Malta’s current minimum wage.

“No person can live a decent life at the current minimum wage, as well as at wages that, although aren’t the minimum wage, are too low and insufficient,” she said.

Matthew Borg from Alleanza Kontra l-Faqar added that this study is the result of three years of work.

He commented on the context in which this study is being launched, namely as budget preparations are underway while figures from the National Statistics Office show more people are at risk of poverty.

GWU secretary-general Josef Bugeja said that the study adds value because it provides a clear picture of how to live a decent life.

“We didn’t want to stop at just those who work, but capture all those who are vulnerable: pensions and all those who, for some reason or another, cannot work. We didn’t want to leave anyone out.”