New CSO data shows continued social recovery as incomes and living conditions improve

Print page

Monday, 17 December, 2018: The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty T.D., today welcomed the continuing downward trend in national poverty rates, as shown in data published by the Central Statistics Office in the Survey on Income and Living Conditions 2017 today.

The Minister noted the very significant fall in the consistent poverty rate to 6.7% in 2017, compared to the 2016 figure of 8.2%.  This represents the largest year-on-year reduction in the consistent poverty rate since 2007.

There was also a significant decrease in the basic deprivation rate, falling to 18.8% in 2017 from the 2016 rate of 21%.  This measure has seen the sharpest decline in recent years, dropping almost 12 percentage points from its height of 30.5% in 2013.

The Minister noted that median disposable income increased by 2.6% to €20,869 per person in 2017.  The rise in incomes was due to both increased employment and higher earnings for those at work. Unemployment fell from a peak of 15.4% in 2012 to 6.2% in 2017. It has since fallen to 5.3% as of November 2018, the lowest since 2008.

Minister Doherty remarked:
“Nothing works like work and the positive jobs environment created by current Government policies is allowing more and more people to raise their standard of living.  I am very pleased to see the continued downward trend in these latest poverty figures, particularly the notable reductions in the percentage of the population in consistent poverty and experiencing basic deprivation. The Government focus on increased spending on social supports in recent Budgets and on assisting people into employment is clearly making a difference.”

The Minister noted that the social welfare system (excluding pensions) continued to perform strongly in 2017, reducing the at-risk-of-poverty rate from 32.3% before social transfers to 15.7% after social transfers. This equates to a poverty reduction effect of 51%; ensuring Ireland remains one of the best performing EU countries in reducing poverty through social transfers.

Minister Doherty added that:
“Even though these figures are heartening to see, they highlight the fact that there are still families and households struggling and that the positive impact of the recovery has yet to be fully felt by many people in Ireland.  And there is no time where this is more evident than at Christmas which is why the Government provided some extra funding for the Christmas Bonus payment for long-term weekly social welfare recipients. We have more work to do and Budget 2018 and 2019 saw further wide-ranging increases in supports for those most in need, particularly for families. Between these supports and continued assistance to help people to return to work, I am confident that the coming years will see further reductions in the number of people in Ireland experiencing poverty and deprivation.


Press Office Contact Details
T: 01 704 3082
Twitter: @welfare_ie


Note to Editors:

The Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) is an annual survey carried out by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) of a representative sample of about 5,000 households or about 12,600 individuals in Ireland. The survey collects information on the income and living conditions of different households in Ireland, in order to derive indicators on poverty, deprivation and social exclusion. It is carried out in every EU country under EU legislation and commenced in Ireland in June 2003. The findings for 2017 can be found at: This release presents results based on data collected in the period January 2016 to December 2017.

Basic deprivation: People are regarded as experiencing basic deprivation if they live in a household deprived of 2 or more of the 11 basic deprivation items because they could not afford them (i.e. not by choice). The figure in 2015 was 25.5%.

At-risk-of-poverty: People are regarded as being at-risk-of-poverty if their equivalised income is below 60% of the median income. In 2015, the at-risk-of poverty threshold was €12,000 per annum or €230 per week for a single person. The at-risk-of-poverty figure in 2015 was 16.9%.

Consistent poverty is the measure used to set the national social target for poverty reduction. It is the overlap of at-risk-of poverty and basic deprivation. The consistent poverty rate was 8.7% in 2015.

Poverty reduction effect of social transfers: The impact of social transfers is measured by the percentage reduction, in absolute and relative terms, in the at-risk-of-poverty rate as a result of social transfers (excluding pensions).

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection reports on progress towards the National Social Target for Poverty Reduction annually in the Social Inclusion Monitor – see

Last modified:17/12/2018