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Disposable income in Ireland rose 28% between 2012 and 2019

The average disposable income of
Irish households rose by nearly 30 per cent between the financial crisis
and last year, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The
agency’s latest Survey on Income and Living Conditions shows the
average after-tax income of households here stood at €53,118 in 2019.

This
is 28.3 per cent higher than at the low point of the financial crisis
in 2012, when it was €41,399 and 8 per cent higher than the boom-time
high of €49,043 recorded in 2008.

The CSO figures reflect the rapid growth in overall employment between 2012 and 2019 rather than direct wage increases.

However,
they predate the current coronavirus crisis, which has resulted in a
spike in unemployment and a compression in household income.

Households
with three or more people at work had the highest nominal median
household disposable income (€95,613) last year, compared with €24,173
for households with no one at work.

The
survey also revealed a strong correlation between disposable income and
education. Where the head of household had an educational attainment of
primary level or below, the nominal median household disposable income
was €26,527, compared with €66,811 for those with a third-level degree
or above.

The survey also provided an insight into poverty rates here.

Those
classified as at risk of poverty – in other words the percentage whose
income was less than 60 per cent of the national median – was 12.8 per
cent last year, down from 14 per cent in 2018.

Poverty risk

Those
most at risk of poverty were people who were not at work due to illness
or disability (37.5 per cent) and those who were unemployed (35.4 per
cent).

This
compares with an “at risk of poverty” rate of 4.6 per cent for those
who described their principal economic status as “at work”.

The
consistent poverty rate, which includes people defined as being both at
risk of poverty and also experiencing enforced deprivation, was 5.5 per
cent, compared with 5.6 per cent in 2018. The change was not considered
statistically significant by the CSO.

One
in seven (13.5 per cent) of those living in rented accommodation were
defined as living in consistent poverty, compared with one in 50 (1.8
per cent) of those living in owner-occupied accommodation, the CSO’s
study found.

Seán
Healy, director of Social Justice Ireland, said the figures indicated
that 637,107 people are living in poverty in Ireland. “Of this number,
around 193,681 are children under the age of 18,” he said.

“Despite wage growth, increased employment and very high rates of economic growth last year, these figures show that a significant proportion of the population is still living in very difficult circumstances,” he said. “We expect that the impact of Covid-19 will simply make this situation worse.”

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