THE RESULTS OF a national survey into income in Ireland has found the average disposable income has dropped for the fourth year in a row.
The study also found that the number of people unable to afford basic necessities has jumped significantly as the recession continues to bite.
Figures from the 2011 Survey on Income and Living Conditions by the Central Statistics Office which were released today show:
- The mean (i.e. average) amount of disposable income in Ireland in 2011 after taxes, social insurance contributions and inter-household cash payments have been paid was €21, 440
- The median (i.e. middle point) amount of disposable income in Ireland in 2011 was €18,148
One quarter of the population is now considered to be living in deprivation, which means they are unable to afford at least two items which are generally considered necessary in society.
The most common types of deprivation in 2011 were:
- Not having the money to replace worn out furniture (21.7 per cent)
- Unable to afford a morning/afternoon/evening out (21.1 per cent)
- Unable to have family or friends over for a meal or a drink (14.8 per cent)
- Unable to afford heating at some stage in the last year (12.2 per cent)
The study also found that social welfare payments are the only thing keeping a huge number of people out of poverty. The CSO noted that the risk of poverty rate would be 50.7 per cent if social transfers were excluded.
Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said the data underlines the crucial importance of social welfare in protecting the most vulnerable.
The actual risk of poverty, which measures how many households have an income that is 60 per cent or less of the median income, has risen to 16 per cent, up from 14.7 per cent the year before.
Meanwhile the consistent poverty rate has remained broadly the same as the previous year at 6.9 per cent. Consistent poverty identifies how many people have an income below 60 per cent of the median income and are also deprived of two or more basic but essential goods and services, such as a warm waterproof coat, the ability to keep a home adequately warm and enough money to afford a meal with meat three times a week.
The Survey on Income and Living Conditions is carried out every year using a representative sample of more than 4,000 households or 11,000 individuals and is the official source of data and household income, as well as providing information about key poverty indicators.
The figures show average disposable income peaked in 2008 at €24,380 and has been declining every year since.