LATEST POVERTY FIGURES SHOW MIXED BAG BUT NO ROOM FOR COMPLACENCY

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The European Anti-Poverty Network has broadly welcomed the CSO findings of an overall decrease in the at risk of poverty and consistent rates for 2023. However, it has expressed concern at the increase in people experiencing deprivation, and cautioned that some of the most disadvantaged and marginalised groups in society are still being left behind.

Responding to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2023, Paul Ginnell, Director of the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Ireland, said: “We welcome the SILC 2023 figures showing that the overall at risk of poverty and consistent poverty rates were lower in 2023 compared to the previous year. However, a number of the CSO’s findings are very worrying, and there is no room for complacency. Despite the overall decreases in poverty rates, we still face a situation where more than 559,800 people remain at risk of poverty, and more than 190,000 people are living in consistent poverty.”

“We are concerned at the increase in the percentage of people experiencing deprivation, which reflects the very real struggles people are facing with the cost of living. More than 913,000 people or 17.3% of the population were experiencing enforced deprivation in 2023, compared with 16.6% in 2022 and 13.7% in 2021. Almost half of all households had at least some difficulty in making ends meet. More than one in ten people went without heating at some time during the last 12 months through lack of money, an increase from 8.2% in 2022,” said Mr Ginnell.

“Today’s figures further highlight that levels of income poverty and material deprivation remain consistently and disproportionately high for many disadvantaged and marginalised groups, including people unable to work due to long-standing health problems, people who are unemployed, lone parent families, and people living in rented accommodation. It is crucial that the Government steps up its efforts to ensure that those most likely to experience poverty and social exclusion in Ireland are not left behind,” said Mr Ginnell.

“The SILC also very clearly shows that poverty rates would have been much higher were it not for the cost-of-living measures. However, there remain major concerns about the potential impact on household’s incomes should these payments be reduced or removed. In this regard, the Government should move beyond such short-term temporary measures and develop a long-term, sustainable approach to addressing the root causes of poverty and social exclusion,” continued Mr Ginnell.

“As a priority the Government needs to ensure that everyone has access to an adequate income, whether this is from work or social welfare, or a mix of both. This means decent, liveable wages and social welfare set at an adequate level to meet the cost of living. The Government must also ensure further investment in public services and supports, such as direct build social and affordable housing, the adequate funding of a public childcare system, investment in health and in public transport across Ireland, particularly in rural areas. This will improve people’s quality of life, while also helping to reduce the hight cost of living.” 

Key Findings from the CSO Survey of Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2023:

  • 10.6% of people were at risk of poverty in 2023 compared with 12.5% in 2022.
  • If cost of living measures were excluded from income the at risk of poverty rate would have been 13.0% in SILC 2023, higher than the SILC 2022 rate of 12.5%.
  • The at risk of poverty threshold (i.e. 60% of the median nominal equivalised disposable income) is €16,558 per annum or €317.32 per week, an increase of 2.8% from 2022.
  • Those most at risk of poverty in 2023 were people who were unable to work due to long-standing health problems (27.3%), followed by people who were unemployed (25.5%).
  • By age group, persons aged under 18 years had the highest at risk of poverty rate in 2023 (14.3%), followed by those aged 50 to 64 years (11.2%). Those aged 65 years and over had the lowest at risk of poverty rate of 8.3%, which was the largest year on year change, falling 11.8 percentage points from 20.1% in 2022.
  • By tenure status, people living in rented or rent-free accommodation were more likely to be at risk of poverty at 19.7%, compared with those living in owner-occupied accommodation (6.5%).
  • By household composition, the at risk of poverty rate was highest in households composed of one adult aged less than 65 years (27.1%), followed by households of one adult with children aged under 18 (19.2%).
  • 17.3% of people were experiencing enforced deprivation in 2023 compared with 16.6% in 2022
  • The enforced deprivation rate for those at risk of poverty was 33.8% in 2023 compared with 38.9% in 2022. The deprivation rate for those not at risk of poverty was 15.4% in 2022, compared with 10.8% in 2021.
  • 3.6% of people were found to be living in consistent poverty in 2023 compared with 4.9% in 2022. Without cost of living measures the rate would have been 4.4%, much closer to the 2022 rate of 4.9%.
  • The consistent poverty rate was highest among persons unable to work due to long-standing health problems (16.5%) and people who were unemployed (9.4%).
  • By household composition, the consistent poverty rate was highest for people living in households comprised of one adult aged less than 65 years (13.0%) and persons living in one adult households with children (7.1%).
  • The consistent poverty rate is 8.9% for persons in households where no one is at work.
  • In terms of tenure status, the consistent poverty rate was 8.5% for those living in rented or rent-free accommodation compared with 1.4% for those living in owner-occupied dwellings.
  • While 30.7% of the population are living in rented or rent-free accommodation, they make up 72.9% of those living in consistent poverty.
  • The richest 20% of people had 3.8 times the income of the poorest 20%, compared with 3.9 in 2022.

ENDS

Contact: Tim Hanley, Policy and Communications Officer: tim.hanley@eapn.ie

NOTES:

  • Paul Ginnell, Director of the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Ireland, is available for interview.
  • The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (7 March 2024) issued results from the Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) for 2023. The CSO Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2023 is available here.
  • The European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Ireland is a network of 160 local, regional and national anti-poverty organisations and individuals. It is the Irish national network of the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), which links groups fighting for the eradication of poverty across Europe. The Mission of EAPN Ireland is: ‘To put the eradication of poverty at the top of the Irish and European policy agenda and empower groups working to end poverty to understand and influence policy-making.’
  • The at risk of poverty, deprivation and consistent poverty rates Table:
At risk of poverty, deprivation and consistent poverty rates by demographic characteristics and year1 (%)
At risk of poverty rate Deprivation rate2 Consistent poverty rate
2021 2022 2023 2021 2022 2023 2021 2022 2023
State 11.8 12.5 10.6 13.7 16.6 17.3 4.2 4.9 3.6
Sex
Male 11.2 12.2 10.8 12.7 15.2 16.0 3.9 4.6 3.5
Female 12.4 12.8 10.4 14.6 17.9 18.7 4.6 5.1 3.7
Age group
  0-17 14.5 14.7 14.3 17.3 18.8 21.4 6.3 7.0 4.8
  18-34 9.5 7.6 8.6 15.3 18.3 19.3 3.9 3.6 3.0
  35-49 9.9 10.3 9.5 12.2 17.3 16.5 3.5 4.3 3.2
50-64 12.8 12.3 11.2 13.5 13.7 16.2 4.2 5.3 4.8
65+ 12.8 20.1 8.3 7.6 12.7 10.7 2.3 3.5 1.4
Principal Economic Status (aged 16 years and over)
Employed 4.5 5.3 5.8 8.7 11.7 12.3 1.2 2.0 1.5
Unemployed 23.7 32.1 25.5 29.6 46.6 37.8 10.5 14.3 9.4
Retired 12.8 19.7 8.8 7.1 12.2 9.6 2.4 3.8 1.5
Unable to work due to long-standing health problems 35.7 30.7 27.3 37.0 40.3 44.7 16.4 16.8 16.5
Student, pupil 17.6 13.1 12.7 13.9 17.8 21.6 6.1 5.9 4.6
Fulfilling domestic tasks 21.4 24.5 16.6 16.3 21.2 24.8 5.9 7.7 6.9
Highest education level attained (aged 16 years and over)
Primary or below 25.6 30.0 16.9 18.8 25.6 27.1 7.6 9.8 5.8
Lower secondary 19.6 20.8 15.7 20.0 21.7 24.0 6.3 8.1 6.2
Higher secondary 12.6 11.3 8.1 13.4 18.7 19.2 4.4 4.7 2.7
Post leaving cert 11.0 13.2 12.7 14.4 19.5 17.5 4.1 4.6 4.4
Third level non degree 6.4 11.7 9.0 9.5 16.7 14.4 1.2 4.1 2.6
Third level degree or above 4.2 3.9 4.7 6.8 7.7 7.9 1.3 1.3 1.3
Household composition
1 adult aged 65+ 29.1 41.3 15.4 12.4 17.2 20.0 5.2 10.5 3.2
1 adult aged <65 27.3 32.5 27.1 19.9 23.9 25.7 10.4 14.2 13.0
2 adults, at least 1 aged 65+ 9.2 17.3 8.4 6.7 9.0 7.2 1.9 2.0 0.9
2 adults, both aged <65 7.4 5.5 4.7 15.0 16.0 12.4 3.0 1.8 1.7
3 or more adults 6.4 4.7 3.5 10.6 11.7 12.8 2.2 2.3 1.3
1 adult with children aged under 18 20.6 27.0 19.2 44.2 45.4 41.4 11.3 15.5 7.1
2 adults with 1-3 children aged under 18 10.3 11.8 14.2 11.2 17.4 17.7 4.2 4.3 4.5
Other households with children aged under 18 14.8 10.8 10.5 15.7 16.5 22.0 5.0 6.0 4.0
Household type
One person household 28.1 36.0 21.9 16.2 21.8 23.2 7.9 12.4 8.6
Lone parent with at least one child aged less than 25 21.4 23.2 16.3 39.6 44.5 45.6 13.7 14.2 7.2
Lone parent with all children aged 25 or more 13.4 13.0 10.6 19.6 17.3 18.6 3.2 1.0 2.4
Couple without any child(ren) 6.0 8.8 4.1 7.4 10.2 7.3 1.2 1.2 1.1
Couple with at least one child aged less than 25 9.8 9.7 11.0 9.3 14.0 14.6 3.0 4.0 3.6
Couple with all children aged 25 or more 2.3 2.6 0.9 6.7 7.3 3.9 0.3 0.3 0.0
Other type of household 12.8 10.5 10.7 19.2 17.4 22.0 4.8 5.0 2.9
Number of persons at work in the household
  0 30.2 36.7 22.6 29.1 31.6 29.2 12.7 14.4 8.9
  1 13.9 15.3 15.5 13.5 23.0 21.8 4.1 5.4 5.5
2 3.3 3.7 5.3 7.8 9.1 11.6 1.0 1.4 1.3
3+ 2.0 3.2 1.2 6.5 7.2 11.0 0.0 2.3 0.0
Tenure status
Owner-occupied 7.9 8.6 6.5 6.3 9.9 8.8 1.5 2.1 1.4
Rented or rent free 21.0 21.8 19.7 30.9 32.4 36.5 10.4 11.4 8.5
Urban/rural location
Urban areas 10.8 11.8 10.7 15.8 18.1 19.8 5.1 5.2 4.3
Rural areas 13.7 14.0 10.2 9.7 13.4 12.2 2.6 4.2 2.1
Region
  Northern and Western 18.9 19.8 14.8 12.0 16.9 17.4 3.8 8.2 4.2
  Southern 13.4 12.6 10.0 16.1 19.1 18.4 5.5 5.9 4.0
Eastern and Midland 8.3 9.9 9.5 12.7 14.8 16.6 3.5 3.0 3.1
1 Data for 2021 and 2022 was updated on 07/03/2024.  Please see information note for details https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/in/silc/informationnotecensusrevisions-silc2020to2022/.
2 Deprivation Rate: The share of persons who experience two or more of the eleven deprivation items.

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