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Number of people in consistent poverty in Ireland doubles since 2008

There are 698,000 people still in poverty in Ireland. Even though the poverty line has fallen by 16% since 2008, nearly one in seven people in Ireland are in poverty. Over 211,000 of these are children.

  • Over 376,000 people are living in consistent poverty in Ireland, double the figure in 2008, according to the latest CSO statistics published today.
  • 1.4 million people are experiencing deprivation, an increase of 128% since 2008.
  • Overall, nearly 700,000 people are still at risk of poverty, of which 211,000 are children.
  • Approximately, one in 6 children and one in 10 people aged over 65 are at risk of poverty, a new study shows.
     

There are 698,000 people still in poverty in Ireland. Even though the poverty line has fallen by 16% since 2008, nearly one in seven people in Ireland are in poverty. Over 211,000 of these are children. Of this figure, nearly 140,000 children – or one in 8 of all children living in Ireland – are living in consistent poverty. This is an indictment of Government policy and highlights its failure to protect the most vulnerable.

Government did have choices. However the choices it made resulted in 8.2% of the population living in consistent poverty. This equates to over 376,000 people. This is double the figure in 2008, when 4.2% of the population were in consistent poverty.

The figures are from the Central Statistics Office’s (CSO) Annual Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC), 2013. The CSO study defines consistent poverty as individuals who are identified as being at risk of poverty and living in a household that is deprived of a number of basic items, such as warm new clothes or adequate heating.

The study also shows a sharp increase in the number of people experiencing deprivation (see chart below). Almost a third of Ireland’s population, or 1.4 million people are deprived of basic essentials, like a warm winter coat, or adequate heating.

Over 440,000 of these people are children, and over 90,000 are pensioners. Almost one in three children aged under 18, and roughly one in six people aged over 65 experienced deprivation. This is totally unacceptable.

The poverty line has fallen steadily from €12,409 in 2008 to €10,425 in 2013, a fall of 16%. Yet the SILC survey shows that almost 700,000 people are subsisting on this very low level of annual income, and in a growing number of instances, are being deprived of basic essentials.  This represents a huge challenge to Government and to Society.

Since the crash the proportion of people in consistent poverty has risen by 100% (see chart below) (4.2% of the population were in this situation in 2008, compared to 8.2% in 2013), the CSO study shows. It also confirms that 5% of people with jobs are in at risk of poverty, which translates into almost 91,000 people who are the ‘working poor’. Over a third of unemployed people – or almost 120,000 people – were at risk of poverty in 2013. And nearly 55% of unemployed people experienced deprivation.

These statistics can be directly linked to the successive regressive budgets produced by Government. The Government could have made other choices which would have had better outcomes, such as those suggested by Social Justice Ireland its fully-costed pre-Budget Policy Briefings.