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Close to three in 10 people 'severely limited by a health problem' at risk of poverty

More than one in five severely limited by a health problem are unable to afford to adequately heat their home, and close to a quarter are unable to afford new clothes.

CLOSE TO THREE in ten people who are “severely limited by a health problem” are at risk of poverty.

That compares to a figure of one in 10 for those “not limited” by a health problem.

That’s according to data published today by the Central Statistics Office on poverty indicators by health status.

It’s part of the CSO’s “Survey on Income and Living Conditions” (SILC) for 2022.

The SILC is a household survey that covers a broad range of topics related to income and living conditions.

‘Severely limited’

As part of the SILC survey, respondents aged 16 and over were asked if they were “limited because of a health problem in activities people usually do”.

Those who said they were “severely limited” were then asked if they have been limited for “at least the past six months”.

Respondents who said they were severely limited in usual activities for at least six months prior to their interview date are those classified as “severely limited”.

Among the “severely limited” cohort, 27.4% were deemed to be “at risk of poverty”, meaning they have a disposable income that is 40% less than the median disposable income.

More than one in five (22.8%) of those severely limited by a health problem are unable to afford to adequately heat their home, compared to around one in 20 (5.8%) for those not limited.

Close to a quarter (24%) of those severely limited are unable to afford to buy new clothes, compared to 6.8% for those not limited by health problems.

Meanwhile, just under one in five (19.4%) of those severely limited are unable to afford to get together with friends or family once a month for a drink or a meal.

This figure is 7.5% for those not limited by a health problem.

In addition to this, one in five (20.5%) households with a severely limited household member reported at least one occasion over the past year where they failed to pay a utility bill on time due to financial pressures.

This compared to 7.1% of households where no one was described as having their activity limited due to health problems.

The “consistent poverty” rate for people severely limited due to a health problem was also four times higher than the rate for those not limited, at 14.1% compared to 3.5%.

Consistent poverty is described as those who are both “at risk of poverty” and experience two or more “enforced deprivations”.

Enforced deprivation includes going without heating at some stage in the past year, being unable to afford new clothes, being unable to replace worn-out furniture, and being unable to buy presents for friends or family at least once a year. 

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