Consistent Poverty Rates

What is Consistent Poverty?

The term consistent poverty describes someone whose income is below the relative/at risk of poverty threshold and who cannot afford at least two of the eleven deprivation indicators. The threshold represents an income 60% or below the national average annual income. In 2010 the national average income was 22,168 making the at risk of poverty threshold 10,831 (a decrease of over 10% since 2009).

The 11 deprivation indicators are:

  1. Two pairs of strong shoes
  2. A warm waterproof overcoat
  3. Buy new not second hand clothes
  4. Eat meat, chicken, fish or a vegetarian equivalent every second day
  5. Have a roast joint or its equivalent once a week
  6. Had to go without heating during the last year through lack of money
  7. Keep the home adequately warm
  8. Buy presents for family or friends at least once a year
  9. Replace any worn out furniture
  10. Have family or friends for a drink or meal once a month
  11. Have a morning, afternoon or evening out in the last fortnight for entertainment.

Consistent Poverty in Ireland

  • The percentage of Irish people living in consistent poverty in 2012 was 7.7%, up from 6.9% in 2011.
  • The consistent poverty rate for the unemployed in 2012was 19.2%, up from 16.5% in 2011.
  • The consistent poverty rate for people retired rose from 1.5% in 2011 to 2.4% in 2012.
  • Children remain the most vulnerable age group with 9.9% living in consistent poverty.
  • The consistent poverty rate for those not at work due to illness or disability rose from 11.1% in 2011 to 17.6% in 2012.


Poverty and Socio-Demographic Characteristics

While in previous years overall poverty rates had been decreasing, between 2011and 2012 these figures increased. The at risk of poverty rate rose from 16.0 to 16.5%, the consistent poverty rate rose from 6.9to 7.7% and the deprivation rate rose from 24.5 to 26.9%. Household composition and socio-demographic characteristics, however, maintained a very significant influence on the risk of poverty. The Central Statistics Office has devised a series of indicators that are considered significant in determining whether a person is in consistent poverty such as age, employment status, number of dependents, level of education and tenure status.

In 2012the consistent poverty rates for single parents, people with low levels of education, children and the unemployed remained consistently high. Notable however in the 20011 to 2012 period was the increase in the consistent poverty rates among people of working age, people with higher levels of education, home owners, people not at work due to illness or disability and households consisting of one adult below the age of 65. The consistent poverty rate for women increased twice as much as for men, jumping from 5.4% in 2009 to 6.6% in 2010 (compared to a rise from 5.5% to 5.9% for men).

It is important to remember that the longer a person remains at risk of poverty, the more likely they will be considered to be in consistent poverty. Given the serious increases in the at risk of poverty statistics across nearly all demographic categories between 2011 and 2012 there is a good chance that consistent poverty rates will experience more serious increases in the coming years if current trends do not change.

Consistent Poverty Rates by Demographic Characteristics and Year

* Sample size is too small for estimation.

Consistent Poverty Rate 2011%

Consistent Poverty Rate 2012%

Male 6.9 7.8
Female 6.9 7.6
Age Group
0 – 17 9.3 9.9
18 – 64 6.8 7.8
65 + 1.9 2.6
Principal Economic Status (aged 16 years and over)
At Work 2.1 1.9
Unemployed 16.5 19.2
Student 10.5 11.2
Home Duties 8.7 10.5
Retired 1.5 2.4
Not at Work due to Illness or Disability 11.1 17.6
Highest education level attained (aged 16 years and over)
Primary or Below 7.4 9.5
Lower Secondary 9.5 10.3
Higher Secondary 6.8 7.0
Post Leaving Cert 5.5 8.8
Third Level Non-Degree 5.7 5.5
Third Level Degree or Above 1.8 2.3
Numbers of People at Work
0 15.9 18.8
1 5.2 6.4
2 1.2 0.5
3+ * *
Tenure Status
Owner Occupied 3.8 4.8
Rented at the market rate 6.8 9.3
Rented at below the market rate or rent free 21.5 19.8
Urban/rural location
Urban areas 6.8 8.0
Rural areas 7.1 7.3
























Statistics Office Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2012.

Find the full report on Central Statistics Office website: