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 relative or at-risk of poverty threshold represents an income of less than 60% of the national median (middle) annual income. The the 60% at risk of poverty threshold in 2017 was €12,521. (or €239.95 per week)

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.

The Irish Government adopted a ‘national social target for poverty reduction which is “to reduce consistent poverty to 4 per cent by 2016 (interim target) and to 2 per cent or less by 2020, from the 2010 baseline rate of 6.2 per cent”.

Consistent Poverty in Ireland
  • The percentage of Irish people living in consistent poverty in 2017 was 6.7%, up from 4.2% in 2008.
  • The consistent poverty rate for the unemployed in 2017 was 24.1%, up from 9.7% in 2008.
  • Children remain one of the most vulnerable age group with 8.8% living in consistent poverty in 2017.
  • Consistent poverty in single parent households continues to rise increasing from 17.8% in 2008 to 20.7% in 2017.
Poverty and Socio-Demographic Characteristics

While prior to the crisis overall at-risk of poverty rates had been consistently decreasing, between 2009 and 2012 these figures increased from 14.1% to 17.3%. It fell to 16.5% in 2013, rose to 17.2% in 2014, was at 16.5% in 2016 and 15.7% in 2017. Consistent poverty rose from 4.2% in 2008 to 9.1% in 2013 before falling to 8.3% in 2016 and 6.7% in 2017. Material deprivation increased from 13.7% in 2008 to a shocking 30.5% of households in 2013 but has fallen to 21% in 2016 and in 2017 is 18.8%. 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 at risk of poverty such as age, employment status, number of dependents, level of education and tenure status. It does not cover some groups such as ethnic minorities, including Travellers or people with disabilities as a specific group.

In 2017 the consistent poverty rates for single parents, people with lower levels of education, children, those who are unemployed and those renting accommodation at below the market rate remained consistently high. There has been an increase in the consistent poverty rate of those at work from 1.1% in 2008 to 2.6% in 2014, decreasing to 1.4% in 2017.

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.

Consistent Poverty Rates by Household Composition

Household Composition

Consistent Poverty Rate 2008 %

Consistent Poverty Rate 2017 %
1 adult aged 65+


1 adult aged <65


2 adults, at least 1 aged 65+


2 adults, both aged <65


3 or more adults


1 adult with children aged under 18




2 adults with 1-3 children aged under 18


Other households with children under 18


Consistent Poverty Rates by Demographic Characteristics and Year

* Sample size is too small for estimation.

 Consistent Poverty Rate 2008 %

Consistent Poverty Rate 2017 %

Age Group  
0 – 176.38.8
18 – 643.97.0
65 +1.01.7
Principal Economic Status (aged 16 years and over)

At Work1.11.4
Home Duties6.910.4
Not at Work due to Illness or Disability13.224.0
Highest education level attained (aged 16 years and over)  
Primary or Below8.09.5
Lower Secondary4.910.6
Higher Secondary2.55.4
Post Leaving Cert1.79.1
Third Level Non-Degree0.84.1
Third Level Degree or Above

Numbers of People at Work  
Tenure Status  
Owner Occupied2.33.5
Rented at the market rate2.910.6
Rented at below the market rate or rent free16.416.6
Urban/rural location  
Urban areas4.27.4
Rural areas4.35.3

Find the full report on Central Statistics Office website: