Minimum Income Standard in other countries

Studies and research projects in other countries which utilise the Minimum Income Standard.


The National Observatory on Poverty and Social Exclusion (ONPES) funded research on developing consensual budget standards for French households.  The project was conducted by the Research Centre for the Study and Observation of Living Conditions (CRÉDOC) and the Economic and Social Research Institute Research (IRES) in consultation and was based on the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) methodology developed by CRSP.  A new study has been commissioned to look at reference budgets for rural France using the same methodology.





Gilles, L., Covolo, C, Concialdi, P and Math, A. (2014) ONPES Reference ‎Budgets:  ‎Study conducted at the request of the French National Observatory on ‎Poverty and ‎Social Exclusion ‎‎(ONPES) ‎

Gelot, D. (2016) Reference budgets:  assessing the needs to be met for an effective ‎participation in society 2014-2015 ‎‎


The Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice (VPSJ) was established in 1996 with the aim of tackling poverty and exclusion. Since 2005 they have been using the MIS methodological framework to produce household budgets for urban and rural households in Ireland.



This project was a result of the formation of the Research Committee on a National Minimum, instigated by the then Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Akira Nagatsuma in response to a more general demand to revive studies on the minimum cost of living as a basis for developing the structure of a Japanese welfare state for the 21stCentury.  As a part of this project, researchers calculated the minimum income standard for single working-age adults and single pensioners in Mitaka, a residential city with a population of 180,000 located in western Tokyo, in 2010 and 2011 respectively.  The Japanese research followed the broad framework of the MIS method developed in the UK with some modifications relating to the cultural context.

The research was conducted by a consortium of institutions: the National Institute of Population and Security Research, Kanagawa University of Human Services, Japan Women’s University, Saitama University, National Institute for Educational Policy Research and Keio University in consultation with the MIS UK team at CRSP.


Iwanaga, R. and Iwata, M. (2012) 'Introduction to the Special Issue of a Minimum Income Standard Research in Japan', Social Policy and Labor Studies,4(1):58-60 (in Japanese).

Uzuki, Y. (2012) 'Comparing Minimum Income Standards between Japan and the UK: MIS Budgets and Their Implications', Social Policy and Labor Studies, 4(1):85-96 (in Japanese).

Yamada, A. (2010) 'Targeting the Relative Benefit Levels of Social Assistance to Minimum Wages in an International Perspective', Social Policy and Labor Studies, 2(2), 33-47 (in Japanese).

Davis, A., Hirsch, D.,Iwanaga, R., Iwata, M., Shigekawa, J., Uzuki, Y., and Yamada, A. (forthcoming) Comparing the Minimum Income Standard in the UK and Japan: Methodology and Outcome, Social Policy and Society.


In 2016, funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund (through Loughborough University), CRSP carried out a MIS pilot study in Mexico.  The purpose of the research was to explore whether it is possible to reach consensus about what is needed in order to have a decent standard of living in a country with high levels of inequality.  The study consisted of six groups of parents with children up to 16 years of age, three in Monterrey and three in Mexico City.  The remainder of the groups discussed the goods and services needed to achieve this dignified life in Mexico, in two budget areas: the living area and leisure time.  The pilot study concluded that it is possible for members of society from very different socio-economic backgrounds to reach agreement about what constitutes a dignified standard of living.  It also showed that this dignified standard of living in Mexico encompasses more than basic material needs and that current wages, and in particular the minimum wage, are not enough to achieve a dignified standard of living in Mexico.  An article exploring the pilot is available here.

In 2018, and building on the pilot project, Centro de Estudios Espinosa Yglesias (CEEY), in partnership with CRSP and Laura Valadez-Martinez, began work on developing MIS for working age households with children living in urban Mexico. This project is due to finish in 2020.


The Minimum Income Standard for Portugal (RAP) developed budget standards for Portugal using the MIS UK methodological framework.  The research team comprised researchers from the Technical University of Lisbon and the Portuguese Catholic University, in consultation with CRSP.


Pereirinha, J. and Branco, F. (2012) 'A historical approach to the standards of minimum income in Portugal'. Paper presented at the XXXII Meeting of the Portuguese Economic and Social History, Lisbon, November 2012.

Branco, F., Pereirinha, J., Pereira, E., Costa, D., Amaro, M. I. and Nunes, F. (2012) 'What does it mean to have a minimum acceptable standard of living in Portugal today? Methodological perspectives'. Paper presented at the 10 years of the ESPAnet Anniversary Conference, Edinburgh, September 2012.

Pereira, E., Pereirinha, J., Branco, F., Amaro, M. I., Costa, D. and Nunes, F. (2012) 'Development of a conceptual framework suitable for the determination of the minimum acceptable standard of living in Portugal'. Paper presented at the VII Congress of Sociology Portuguese, Lisbon, June 2012.

Ferreira Correia, A., Pereira, E. and Costa, D. (2016) De que necessitam as pessoas idosas para viver com dignidade em Portugal? Análise Social Vol. 51, No. 219 (2016), pp. 366-401

Project website:


In Singapore, the first MIS research project in 2019 investigated how ordinary Singaporeans think about what constitutes basic needs in Singapore and determined the household budgets required by older people. The second report published in 2021 focused on households comprising working-age parents (single or partnered) and their children across different age groups (below 2 years old; 2–6; 7–12; 13–18; and 19–25), and uprated the 2019 budgets for older people to reflect changes in the costs of living.


Ng, K. H., Teo, Y. Y., Neo, Y. W., Maulod, A., & Ting, Y. T. (2019). What older people need in Singapore: A household budgets study.

Ng, K. H., Teo, Y. Y., Neo, Y. W., Maulod, A., & Ting, Y. T. (2020). Measuring needs and setting standards in Singapore. In C. Deeming (Ed.), Minimum income standards and reference budgets: International and comparative policy perspectives (pp. 83–96). Policy Press.

Ng, K. H., Teo, Y. Y., Neo, Y. W., Maulod, A., Chok, S., & Wong, Y. L. (2021). What people need in Singapore: A household budgets study.

Project website:

Online MIS calculator:

South Africa

In 2016, funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund (through Loughborough University), CRSP carried out a MIS pilot study in South Africa, working in close collaboration with the Southern African Social Policy Research Institute (SASPRI).  While the MIS approach has been shown to work well in the UK and other high-income countries, its applicability in a developing country context has until relatively recently been unexplored.  South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world with entrenched racial and spatial divisions that are proving difficult to break down, resulting in concurrent yet very different standards of living.  The purpose of this pilot in South Africa was to explore whether or not it is possible to establish consensus on what is needed for an acceptable standard of living in such a divided country.

The pilot study consisted of seven focus groups with working-age adults without children, which were undertaken in the summer of 2016.  Two initial ‘orientation’ groups were conducted to develop and agree upon a definition of a decent standard of living with the participants, and to prepare a description of the case study individuals to be used as the basis for discussion in subsequent groups.  This was followed by two ‘task groups’ to determine what was needed in three aspects of life: communication, the living area and the sleeping area.  Two ‘check-back’ groups then considered the lists of necessities in different settings, with one final negotiation group convened to resolve any outstanding issues brought forward by the previous groups.  The pilot concluded that it is possible to reach consensus about a decent standard of living that all living in South Africa should be able to have. It is hoped that future research will develop and expand this pilot project.  A report on the pilot project is available here.


In 2018, CRSP collaborated with the Thai Development Research Institute who undertook a small-scale pilot of MIS.  The focus of the project was on establishing a minimum acceptable standard of living for a three-generation household, with a young child, living in rural Thailand.  This pilot is intended to contribute to the evaluation of a child support grant, targeted at rural households with young children.