Definition of subsistence level in English:

subsistence level

(also subsistence wage)


  • A standard of living (or wage) that provides only the bare necessities of life.

    ‘many peasants hardly existed above subsistence level’
    • ‘At the same time, the wealthier citizens are called upon to take an active, personal role in alleviating poverty and elevating the poor above the bare subsistence level provided by entitlements.’
    • ‘If the poorer peasantry were living at a bare subsistence level those with larger holdings, along with the landlords, were doing well from what has been described as a trade boom.’
    • ‘Hence, if their wages were to rise, the ensuing increase in population would soon return wages to their subsistence level.’
    • ‘Karl Marx claimed that capitalism keeps wages at a subsistence level with a reserve army of the unemployed.’
    • ‘Every culture that has developed agriculture and lives above a subsistence level cultivates flowers.’
    • ‘All this for wages far-below subsistence level, even by El Salvador's low standard of living.’
    • ‘Here was a person who owned half of Montana, attacking the mass of the world population, who were trying to rise above the subsistence level, to better their lot a bit.’
    • ‘Assuming that this is a subsistence wage, all the landowner is doing is providing a day's life to those hired later in the day.’
    • ‘Marx argues that wages will fall back to their values: essentially a subsistence wage.’
    • ‘For volunteers it's not so great - our subsistence wage doesn't exactly go too far in the west.’
    • ‘Prior to European contact these early aboriginals survived at a subsistence level by fishing, hunting and gathering; living off the bounty of the land and moving from one encampment to the next with the change of the seasons.’
    • ‘Our farmers are still living at a subsistence level, are largely landless and unorganized; in this condition they must face the expansion of foodstuffs from many giant food corporations.’
    • ‘Indeed most of the farming was almost at a subsistence level.’
    • ‘How can one spend money on changing names of places if people need development, at least up to a subsistence level?’
    • ‘By keeping wages close to subsistence level, the Arkansas-based retailer offers low prices that draw herds of gleeful shoppers away from the competition.’
    • ‘Workers, paid piece-rates, tried to keep up with the machines and tried to work fast enough to make a subsistence wage.’
    • ‘The plantation would have to front the labour-gang members a subsistence wage pending the final reckoning.’
    • ‘The project has attracted thousands of applicants desperate to earn a subsistence wage to escape poverty.’
    • ‘Here they received a subsistence wage in the form of rations.’
    • ‘Democrats also argue that every worker has the right to earn a subsistence wage.’