Home US Workers Need to Work 13 Minutes Longer To Afford a Big Mac in 2022 vs 10 Years Ago
US Workers Need to Work 13 Minutes Longer To Afford a Big Mac in 2022 vs 10 Years Ago

US Workers Need to Work 13 Minutes Longer To Afford a Big Mac in 2022 vs 10 Years Ago

  • Published: 15th June 2022, 08:14

In the past 10 years, inflation has had a significant impact on the cost of everyday purchases – even including the beloved fast-food industry. MoneyTransfers.com has taken the top 10 most expensive countries to buy a Big Mac in and calculated how long the average worker on national minimum wage would need to work to earn the equivalent cost.

In addition, we compared this data to the average price of a Big Mac and national minimum wage in 2012. We discovered that the average US worker would need to work for 48 minutes to earn the equivalent sum of a Big Mac in 2022 – a 21% increase on the time needed to work in 2012.

13 minutes longer to earn the cost of a Big Mac in 2022 vs 2012

In the US, the price of a Big Mac has increased by a mind-blowing 40% in the past 10 years, as reported by CNBC. In contrast, the US federal minimum wage has remained unchanged since July 2009, when it was increased from $6.55 to $7.25. 

To put that into perspective, the cost of a Big Mac ten years ago was $4.33, meaning it would take a minimum wage worker 35 minutes to earn the equivalent cost of the burger. In 2022, workers are on the same federal minimum wage, but it would take them an entire 13 minutes more to earn the equivalent of a Big Mac. The average cost of a Big Mac in the US is currently $5.81. To know what is the equivalent price in your country, you can use our currency transfer comparison tool.

Big Mac prices 2022

Latest index figures show that Switzerland currently has the most expensive Big Mac in the world at US$6.98, followed by Norway and the US. 

Out of the top 10 most expensive Big Macs worldwide, Britain and Denmark sit at the bottom. The price of a Big Mac in Denmark is $4.82 (DKK32.00), the same as in Britain. For reference, the Big Mac Index currently lists Russia as having the cheapest Big Mac in the world at 135 rubles ($2.37).

4.3 hours to earn a Big Mac in Uruguay

We found that despite having relatively cheap prices in the Big Mac comparison, Uruguay is actually the most costly of all. A worker on national minimum hourly wage ($1.25) would need to work for 4.3 hours to earn the equivalent funds. Venezuela was also high – with a Big Mac price of $5.06 and a national hourly minimum wage of US$3.47, it would take someone on this salary 1.45 hours to pay for a Big Mac.

At the bottom of the scale is Switzerland. Despite having the most expensive Big Mac in the world, the country also has the highest national hourly minimum wage at $23.53, meaning someone would have to work for just 18 minutes to afford a Big Mac here. 

2012 figures

The disparity between the increase in the cost of a Bic Mac vs the national minimum wage for each country is clear when we look at the figures for 2012. In Uruguay, for example, a worker would have needed to work for almost half the time (2.38 hours) to earn the same amount as a Big Mac costs ($4.63) as they would in 2022.

No national minimum wage

Also coming in under 20 minutes were Denmark (18 minutes), and Norway (20 minutes). Interestingly, neither of these Scandinavian countries have an official national minimum wage. Despite this, the average minimum hourly wage for unskilled workers is still far higher than many other countries. The average hourly wage for a worker in Norway, for example, is around $19.50 – whereas in the UK, the legal minimum hourly wage is just $10.90.

Another country featured on the list without a legal minimum wage is Sweden. Despite having the fourth most expensive Big Mac at $5.79, it would take the average worker 27 minutes to be able to buy one. For reference, the salary for a McDonald’s cashier in Sweden is the equivalent of around $13 USD per hour.

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Yasmin Purnell

Yasmin Purnell is a Content Writer and Editor for MoneyTransfers.com. Having over 5 years’ experience writing across a range of industries including finance, insurance, and travel, Yasmin joined the team with a mission to make international money transfers and everything they encompass accessible to all.