Poverty Indicators

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What is Consistent Poverty?

The official Government approved poverty measure used in Ireland is consistent poverty, developed independently by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
This measure identifies the proportion of people, from those with an income below a certain threshold (less than 60% of median income), who are deprived of two or more goods or services considered essential for a basic standard of living.
The consistent poverty measure was devised in 1987 using indicators of deprivation based on standards of living at that time.
The Government in 2007 accepted the advice of the ESRI to revise the deprivation indicators to better reflect current living standards and, in particular, to focus to a greater degree on items reflecting social inclusion and participation in society.
This resulted in the measure, originally based on lacking one or more items from an 8-item index, changing to one based on lacking two or more items from the following 11-item index:
1. Two pairs of strong shoes
2. A warm waterproof overcoat
3. Buy new not second-hand clothes
4. Eat meals with meat, chicken, fish (or 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 

Three indicators are used to measure poverty in Ireland - consistent poverty (which is the official measure), at-risk-of-poverty (AROP), and material deprivation. See Box 1 for an explanation of each of these terms and an illustration of the components of consistent poverty.  

More information about the latest poverty rates and trends is contained in the annual Social Inclusion Monitor, and on CSO webpages about the annual Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) results.

Last modified:28/09/2017