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Dublin: 6°C Wednesday 29 September 2021

How is Ireland feeling? Europe-wide survey looks at loneliness, health, and chores

We don’t have much faith in our health care system… but we feel healthy.

THE LASTEST EDITION of Eurofound’s Quality of Life survey has revealed detailed  information about what life is like in several European countries.

This edition, conducted in 2011, involved face-to-face interviews with 35,000 people in different Europe countries.

Two others were conducted in 2003 and 2007.

Notable findings include a fall of 20% in optimism across all countries, but wide divisions exist between the standard of life in different countries.

For example, 22 per cent of people struggle to make ends meet in Greece, compared to just 1 per cent in Finland.

Perceived tensions between racial groups and the difference between rich and poor also rose.

The authors of the survey described subjective well-being as remaining stable through the decade:

“In Member States with the lowest scores in 2003, well-being increased, and most of the other Member States show more or less stable scores. The main exception is Greece, where the economic crisis is linked to sharp falls in both life satisfaction and happiness between 2007 and 2011.”

For the most part, countries with higher levels of life satisfaction in 2007 reported decreased satisfaction in 2011.

We’ve picked out a few interesting highlights from the survey relating to Ireland. You can explore the data yourself using this mapping tool.

From whom would you get support if you needed to urgently raise 1000 EUR to face an emergency?

Like most other Europeans, the Irish would turn to a member of their family for some much needed cash. However, we’re 4th in Europe for turning to a financial institution, with 18 per cent saying this would be their first port of call. The Danes are miles ahead of the rest in this area at 30 per cent.

Click here to view a larger version.

How would you rate the quality of health services in your country?

Ireland comes in at 4.9, below an average of 6.3 in terms of how we view our health care system, but…


How respondents rated their health system on a scale of 1 to 10. Click here to view a larger version.

Perceived health status

… we think we’re pretty healthy, among with fellow bailout countries Cyprus and Greece. 38.3 per cent said their health was “very good” compared to an EU average of 22.4 per cent, and 37 per cent “good”.  Lativa ranks last, due to 42.8 per cent classing their health as “fair”.


The percentage of people who responded with “very good” to perceived health status. Click here to view a larger version.

I have not felt lonely.

65 per cent of people in Ireland picked this when asked if they have felt lonely, the 3rd highest in Europe. At the opposite end of the spectrum, 11 per cent of people in Cyprus feel lonely all the time (we’re here if you want a chat, lads).


The percentage of people who responded with “never” to whether they have felt lonely. Click here for a larger version.

Would you say that people can be trusted or that you can`t be too careful in dealing with people?

The higher score, the higher the trust. We perform pretty well in this, and our score of 5.5 peeks above the EU average of 5.1.

Click here to view a larger version.

Contacted a politician or public official (other than routine contact through public services)

We’re in the top 5 in Europe in this category, with 11 per cent saying that they have. You’re most likely to get in touch between the ages of 35 to 49. We match the EU average for youth (18 to 24) engagement in politics.


The percentage of people who said they had recently contacted a politician or public official. Click here to view a larger version.

Time spend in getting to and from work or study

We spend more time commuting than any other country in Europe, at an average of 55 minutes.

Click here to view a larger version.

Access to public transport facilities

While 43.5 per cent can access it easily, 15 per cent of people in Ireland find it very difficult to access public transport, double the EU average of 6.4 per cent. We come second in Europe in this category, although it pales in comparison to Malta’s 32 per cent figure.

However, 73.4 per cent said they had no problems with traffic congestion.


The percentage of people who responded with “with great difficultly” to how well they could access public transport. Click here to view a larger version.

I have come home from work too tired to do household jobs.

While the majority said that they come home too tired “several times a month”, 25 per cent said that “several times a week”.

However, 21 per cent of those from Netherlands and Lithuania say they never are.  How they get the energy for that we’ll never know.

Click here to view a larger version.
Image Credit for all graphs: Eurofound

About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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