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Disposable income falls and risk of poverty rises: CSO

Statistics show the rich-poor gap increased in 2010, with the top 20 per cent of earners bringing home incomes 5.5 times greater than those on the lowest incomes.

Image: John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE AVERAGE DISPOSABLE income in Ireland dropped by 5 per cent in 2010 on the previous year – and the risk of poverty increased, according to newly released statistics.

A report on income and living conditions by the Central Statistics Office showed that the average disposable income for households was €22,168 in 2010, which accounted for a 5 per cent drop from 2009 (€23,326) and was the lowest figure recorded since 2006.

The inequality ratio also increased, according to the figures: the top 20 per cent of earners brought home an income 5.5 times greater than that of those on the lowest income.

Poverty

The at-risk-of-poverty rate rose from 14.1 per cent to 15.8 per cent in between 2009 and 2010.

The threshold used to define the category fell by more than 10 per cent during the period, from €12,064 in 2009 to €10,831 in 2010.

Meanwhile, the number of people experiencing consistent poverty in Ireland in 2010 rose from 5.5 per cent to 6.2 per cent. Consistent poverty is defined as a disposable income of €10,831 or less, along with indicators of enforced deprivation.

The figures show that children remained the most exposed group, with a consistent poverty rate of 8.1 per cent in 2010, and lone parent households showed a reduction in their consistent poverty rate from 16.6 per cent in 2009 to 9.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, an analysis of the principal economic status of individuals showed that unemployed people suffered the highest consistent poverty rate in 2010 at 15.2 per cent – an increase of 11.5 per cent on the previous year.

In the EU context

In 2010, Ireland had an at-risk-of-poverty rate of 16.1 per cent – the 12th highest in the EU, where the average at risk of poverty rate was 16.4 per cent.

Latvia had the highest at-risk-of-poverty rate, at 21.3 per cent, while the Czech Republic had the lowest rate at 9.0 per cent.

The report revealed that over 17 per cent of the EU-27 population experienced at least three forms of enforced deprivation in 2010.

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