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Tropico 4: Wages & Housing

January 26th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Yes…another Tropico 4 article. I seem to get a lot of traffic on my Tropico 4 articles, mostly from the Google search phrase “Tropico 4 Housing” and “Tropico 4 Wages”…why not give the readers what they want?

I covered the basics of housing and wages in my general strategies article, feel free to check that out after you’re done here. Below is some detailed Q&A on the subject. Enjoy!

What is housing? Like entertainment, health, religion, and environment, housing is one of the factors that drive your approval rating. If you’re don’t build them the appropriate housing, your Tropicans will build themselves shacks at a very poor housing quality level. Needless to say, they won’t be happy about it.

Tropico 4 Shack

Nonsense! Who wouldn’t want to live here?

What are wages? Wages are the amount of money you pay a Tropican to work in one of your buildings. The amount you pay them affects their job quality rating, which, like housing, is another factor of your approval rating. You can be a cheap skate and pay your workers next to nothing to save on expenses, but you can expect a revolt on your hands if your approval rating drops too low.

So each building has a wage slider you can set manually? In short, yes. There is also a button beside the slider that allows you to set the wage of workers of one type to the same wage so you don’t have to go from building to building.

Different types of workers? What do you mean? There are three classes of workers in Tropico. Uneducated, High School, and College. The former, by default, is paid lower than the latter, but you have the ability to set these any way you want. The button beside the wage slider lets you set all uneducated, high school, or college workers to that wage. Want to change all your uneducated wages to 10 instead of 5? Click on any building that hires uneducated workers, change the wage, and hit the button next to the slider.

Is it easy to provide housing for my Tropicans? It can be expensive to provide housing for your Tropicans. A simple tenement can cost anywhere from three thousand to five thousand in the beginning of the game, depending on the traits you select for your character before the game starts. People who play this game know that the beginning of the game is important and that every penny counts until your economy starts going.

How does housing work? Well, a Tropican will (most of the time) move into the best housing available so as long as they can afford it. Different buildings have different housing quality scores. There’s a huge difference between living in a house and a bunkhouse, for example.

What determines what a Tropican can afford? Their wages. A Tropican will move into housing so as long as their wages are at least three times the rent. A Tropican earning 5 will move into housing with a rent of 1. 1 multiplied by 3 times the rent is 3. 5>3. A Tropican earning 5 will not move into housing with a rent of 2. 2 multiplied by 3 times the rent is 6.

Tropico 4 Scenery

You can give your higher paid workers better housing, make a profit, and raise your housing quality score all at the same time.

What about the unemployed, senior citizens, and students who don’t earn wages? Where do they live? This requires a little bit of explanation. Technically, they earn 0 wages since they don’t work. They can move into housing that doesn’t charge rent. The social security edict, when active, provides a small bit of wages to students and senior citizens based on your island’s average pay. The average pay can be found in the almanac. The higher the average pay, the more social security is paid out and the higher the wages of senior citizens and students. The social security edict does not pay unemployed people…give them something to do proto unless you’re saving up workers for a project like tourism.

So how much should I charge for rent, then? It depends on the building and the wages you have set for your workers. It’s important to keep track of the wages you’ve set for your workers while you set your rents as one affects the other. Keep in mind, housing requires maintenance and costs you money. Set the rent too low and even a fully filled building won’t generate enough income for you to see a profit. You could, of course, bite the bullet on that so as long as you’re making up for it elsewhere. Set the rent too high and you may not have enough people who can afford to live there, leaving you with an empty building and just the expense to pay.

Which type of housing would you recommend I build? Honestly, you can’t go wrong with tenements. They hold a lot of people and even at rents of 2, they generate a profit assuming it’s packed with people. With power, tenements can be upgraded with air conditioning which raises the housing quality up to about 50. With a ministry and foreign affairs worker, you can activate the USSR foreign aid edict and cut the cost of building tenements and apartments by half. In the mid-end game, tenements will be cheap to build and can be upgraded to provide a decent quality score. Bunkhouses are okay to use in the beginning, they’re cheap and better than shacks. I wouldn’t recommend them for permanent housing due to their low housing quality score, but with a low rent, those who don’t make much can afford to live in them and will save you from having to see shacks pop up in inconvenient places. You are free, of course, to experiment and build your own array of housing to see what works.

Tropico 4 Tornados

If you do go with expensive housing, be prepare to shell out a bunch of money to rebuild should mother nature strike.

What other factors may affect a Tropican’s will to move? Location, location, location. Tropicans generally prefer to live close to where they work…don’t we all? If I see shacks popping up and my wages and rents are kosher, then I go ahead and build housing right over top of the shacks. The kind of housing depends on what kind of people lived in those shacks. Unemployed? A housing unit with no rent or just let em sit where they are in their shacks. Uneducated workers? Cheap housing. College worker making a ton of money? Maybe a house or upscale housing. It’s up to you. I find that building housing next to a garage attracts a lot of people, since the garage lets them get to where they’re going faster.

So I should set high wages so that I can charge higher rents to make a profit, right? Yes and no…it depends on your financial situation. It’s true that high wages will raise your job quality score and allow you to set higher rents since they can be afforded, but keep in mind that wages are an expense that gradually grows as more and more Tropicans come to your island and work. You might be able to afford fifty Tropicans working with wages of thirty, but how about three hundred Tropicans making wages of thirty? It adds up. Before you increase wages, make sure your profits are high enough to handle the increase in expenses. Your increased rent income will help make up for it, but won’t solve the difference by itself.

I think I’ve covered everything. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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  1. daretoeatapeach
    November 4th, 2012 at 22:39 | #1

    what’s not clear to me: does increasing the wage actually affect the job quality? That is, does it increase the efficiency of the workers? For example, if construction workers are paid more do buildings go up faster?

    • Vincent
      November 5th, 2012 at 05:43 | #2

      That’s a good question. I am not 100% positive, but my guess is no. Tropicans have a job skill bar that fills up as they do the same job. High wages make them happier and raises the quality rating, but I’m unclear if it indirectly affects their ability to gain experience on the job faster. It’s possible, but I often underpay my Tropicans and don’t run into any issues, especially when I enact the literacy program and set the appropriate buildings to support learning.

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