EAPN Press Release on Survey of Income and Living Conditions 2010

Press Release

Dramatic rise in inequality highlights that the burden is not being shared equally

30 November 2011: The latest report on income and poverty published today shows that inequality in Ireland has grown dramatically. The preliminary results from the Central Statistics Office Survey of Income and Living Conditions 2010 shows that the at-risk of poverty rate grew from 14.1% in 2009 to 15.8% in 2010. This is despite the fact that the level of income necessary to define a person as ‘at risk of poverty’ from approximately €231/week in 2009 to €207/week in 2010.

Other data also showed a sharp increase in income inequality with the gap between the top and bottom 20% of income earners increasing by 28% between 2009 and 2010.

The Survey also showed that the number of those in material deprivation, and therefore unable to afford 2 of the 11 basic necessities, rose from 17.1% in 2009 to 22.5% in 2010. This is an overall increase of almost two-thirds in those experiencing material deprivation from 2008. While material deprivation is mostly being experienced by those at the very bottom of the income scale there is also a dramatic increase in deprivation amongst those higher up the income ladder.

Those who were unemployed, lone parent households and those not at work due to illness or disability continued to be among those experiencing the highest levels of poverty while the poverty levels of those in work have risen considerably.

The Survey showed that the removal of social payments would skyrocket the 15.8% at-risk of poverty rate to a shocking 51% of the population. This demonstrates an increased dependency on social transfers compared to previous years and stands as a warning to the Government which has stated its intention to cut social payments in next week’s budget.

Paul Ginnell, Policy Officer with the European Anti-Poverty Network Ireland, stated that “this Survey clearly shows that those on the lowest end are faring much worse and that this group is rapidly growing. Polices are having a more detrimental impact on those worse off and this provides a stark reminder to the new Government of the impact of the different policy choices. Continuing the cuts to services and welfare supports and introducing regressive taxes such as a VAT increase and flat rate service charges will increase poverty while introducing progressive tax reform, initially focusing on taxing wealth, will produce more equitable outcomes”.


  • For Full Preliminary CSO Survey of Income and Living Conditions Preliminary report see http://www.cso.ie/en/media/csoie/releasespublications/documents/silc/2010/prelimsilc_2010.pdf . This document also contains an explanation of the different measurement of poverty
  • At-risk of poverty in the report refers to those living below a threshold of 60% of the national median income which in 2010 was approximately €207.57 per week.
  • Material deprivation refers to those lacking at least two of 11 agreed items.
  • Consistent Poverty refers to those who are at-risk of poverty and also experience material deprivation. Consistent poverty has risen from 4.2% in 2008 to 6.2% in 2010. The Government Poverty target is to reduce consistent poverty to between 2-4% in 2012 with the aim of eliminating it by 2016. The Government is currently in the process of revising its target.
  • The Community Platform has recently published Paying our Way: Proposals for the Progressive reform of the Irish tax system which is available at http://communityplatform.ie/index.php?page=paying-our-way .

Contact details:

  • Paul Ginnell, EAPN Ireland, 22 Great Strand Street, Dublin 1; Tel: 087-6402200; Email: paul@eapn.ie ; Website: www.eapn.ie

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