Budget 2023 and the 595,000 Living in Poverty

Posted on Friday, 30 September 2022
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Life on a low income is the norm for a large proportion of our society. One in every nine people in Ireland lives with an income below the poverty line (11.6 per cent of the population). Based on the most recent Census data, that corresponds to almost 595,000 people.


The highest risks of poverty are found among people with long-term illness and disabilities, those who are aged under 65 and live alone, the unemployed and single pensioners. 1 in every 7 children live in a household below the poverty line. Research from the Central Bank and ESRI over the past year has highlighted how the recent rapid increase in prices poses particular challenges for low-income households. Using data from the Household Budget Survey the Central Bank study found that the impact of inflation is greatest for those households in the bottom 20 per cent of the income distribution. Given that these households spend a greater proportion of their income, compared to better off  households, they are more exposed to price increases and they also spend a greater proportion of their income on food and energy.


Poverty impacts hardest on those experiencing it in their day-today lives. It limits their options and opportunities and narrows their focus to week-to-week survival and the unavoidable trade-offs of living on inadequate incomes. However, as a 2020 report by UCD academic Dr Micheál Collins for the SVP showed, poverty also imposes costs on society. The report found that each year the state spends €4.5bn dealing with the causes and consequences of poverty; money that could be used in many other ways if we succeeded in targeting and eliminating poverty. Although Budget 2023 includes some welcome measures to address the immediate cost of living challenges faced by those living below the poverty line, it lacked any serious initiatives to begin to significantly reduce poverty.  


You can view our full Budget 2023 Analysis here.