Fewer Making Minimum Wage - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Fewer Making Minimum Wage

Published February 28, 2016

Photos by
Art Bicnick

The percentage of Icelanders in the lowest income bracket is the lowest it has been in years, while income inequality has decreased somewhat.

According to data compiled by the Ministry of Welfare, only 8% of Icelanders are today making less than the minimum wage limit. Such a low percentage has only happened once since 2004, the Ministry says, when about 10% of the population was at this income level.

Women earning more money has played a large role in this data. In 2004, 9.6% of men and 10.5% of women made less than minimum wage. In 2014, those figures change to 8.1% and 7.7% respectively.

At the same time, income equality has increased. Using the Gini coefficient – whereby a 0 means everyone earns the same and 100 means one person earns as much as everyone else – Iceland’s level of income equality is currently ranked at 22.7. This is down from 29.6 in 2009, and down from 24.1 in 2004.

Iceland does not have a single minimum wage for all professions. Rather, each profession decides in their collective bargaining agreements what the lowest possible salary is for their trade.

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