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Young people in Ireland are more likely to have quality of life problems

It found that one quarter of adults reported at least three serious issues.

Image: Shutterstock/Erlo Brown

YOUNG IRISH ADULTS are more likely to have multiple quality of life problems according to a groundbreaking new study.

The study, from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), suggests that one quarter of Irish people suffer from at least three of the 11 problems highlighted by researchers.

These are: income poverty, being unable to afford basic goods and services, financial strain, poor health, mental distress, housing quality problems, crowded accommodation, neighbourhood problems, mistrust in institutions (such as the political system, legal system and police), lack of social support and feeling unsafe in the local area.

The research measured the number of people who experience multiple issues and examined how the types of problems experienced by people within this group vary by age group and social class.

It found that one quarter of adults reported at least three of those issues.

Seven issues each accounted for 10% to 11% of the total issues reported: financial strain, mental distress, health problems, neighbourhood problems, housing quality problems, deprivation and mistrust in institutions.

Crowding, income poverty and lack of safety were less common, accounting for 6% to 8% of issues.

Age divide

Young adults, especially those under 30, were most likely and adults over 70 were least likely to experience multiple problems. The rate of multiple problems was 1.8 times higher for the younger than the older age group.

Poor health and lack of safety were more likely to be reported by older adults (over 70).

Differences in the level of multiple problems by social class are even more pronounced than differences by age group, with those in the manual/lower social class 2.6 times more likely to report multiple problems than those in the professional/managerial class.


The paper’s authors say that it “highlights the importance of considering a range of issues, in addition to income and material living standards, when measuring quality of life”.

Author Dorothy Watson says:

“Policies aiming to maximise quality of life should consider how numerous issues, including health and housing, are experienced differently across age groups, particularly among those who are most disadvantaged.”

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