Relative Poverty Rates


The 1997 National Anti-Poverty Strategy (NAPS) contained the following definition of poverty, which has continues to be included in Irish Government anti-poverty strategies:

"People are living in poverty, if their income and resources (material, cultural and social) are so inadequate as to preclude them from having a standard of living, which is regarded as acceptable by Irish society generally. As a result of inadequate income and resources people may be excluded and marginalised from participating in activities which are considered the norm for other people in society."

At risk of Poverty/Relative Poverty

People or households are considered to be at risk of poverty when their income is less than a particular threshold. In the EU, the threshold has been set at 60% of the median income (mid-point in the scale of the highest to the lowest of all incomes in Ireland). Between 2008 and 2013, median (equivalised) disposable income for an individual dropped from €20,758 to €18,148 but began to increase again in 2014. By 2022, this figure had increased to €€26,257. The the 60% at risk of poverty threshold in 2022 was €15,754. (or €301.91 per week).

Whether those below the 60% threshold are actually experiencing poverty will depend on a number of factors. These include:

  • The degree to which income is below the relevant thresholds;
  • The length of time on this relatively low income – a long period can lead to real deprivation, as a person’s assets run down and cannot be fully maintained or replaced;
  • Possession and use of other assets, especially one’s own home.
At Risk of Poverty Statistics
  • The risk-of poverty level for 2022 was 13.1%, or over 671,000 people, up from 11.6% in 2021. 
  • The at risk of poverty rate for households with one adult and one or more children aged under 18 was 23.8% in 2022.
  • Those most at risk of poverty in 2017 were those individuals who were unemployed (35.6%), those unable to work due to long standing health problems (35.2%) and individuals living in households where there was no person at work (34.6%). There was a significant increase to 33.6% for single adults over 65 years of age, and 32% for single adults under 65 years. The rate for lone parent households was 23.8%. You were also at much higher risk of poverty if living in accommodation which you were renting at below the market value or rent free, which includes those in social housing (23.6%), compared to those in owner occupied accommodation (8.7%). 
  • Without Covid-19 supports, the at-risk of poverty rate in 2022 would have been 19% highlighting the importance of social transfers in reducing poverty. 

The full CSO Survey of Income and Living Conditions report for 2022 is available here.