Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 1°C
Report Card

The life expectancy for the Irish man is 78. For a woman? 83

A new report looking at the economy, education, population and other factors shows mixed results for Ireland.

A REPORT MEASURING Ireland’s progress gives mixed reports about how we are getting on as a country, with the Central Statistics Office collecting data to show that while we are improving at some things, we are lagging behind in others.

The Measuring Ireland’s Progress Report 2012, gives a mixture of good news –  like Ireland being the only country in the EU to experience a decrease in inflation from 2008 to 2012 and then bad news – like Ireland being the fifth most expensive state in the EU in 2012.

Here is a round-up of the good news and bad news in terms of how we are progressing:

Good News


Ireland was the only country in the EU to experience a decrease in inflation between 2008 and 2012.

GDP rose slightly by 0.2 per cent in 2012. Here is how we compared to other countries in 2012:


The public balance deficit was 8.2 per cent of GDP, the third largest in the EU (which is not great) but a big improvement on 2010 when it was 30.6 per cent.

The productivity of the Irish workforce in 2012, measured by GDP per person employed, was 43 per cent higher than the EU average.

The productivity of the Irish workforce remained above the EU average by 29 per cent, however we do work longer hours.

Population and Procreation:

Ireland’s population is increasing at the third highest rate in the EU and it has the highest proportion of young people and the second lowest proportion of old people in the EU

Ireland has the highest fertility rate and the second lowest divorce rate in the EU. Ireland had the highest fertility rate in the EU in 2011 at 2.04, ahead of France and the United Kingdom.

imageFertility graph


The average value of a new housing loan in Ireland rose from €159,600 in 2003 to €270,200 in 2008 before dropping by over a third to €173,600 in 2012.


Early school-leaver rate is better than the EU average.

The proportion of the population aged 25-34 in Ireland that has completed third-level education is the fourth highest in the EU.

Real expenditure per student in Ireland increased over the period 2003-2012 by 16% at first level and by 12% at second level.

A tenth of the Irish population aged 18-24 left school with at most lower secondary education in 2012, better than the EU average of 13 per cent.


The number of homicide offences recorded in Ireland fell from 132 in 2007 to 79 in 2012, a decrease of just over 40 per cent.


The level of acid rain precursor emissions fell from 464.6 SO2 equivalent per 1,000 tonnes of gas emitted in 2000 to 318.1 in 2008, 4 per cent above the Gothenburg Protocol 2010 target level of 306.

A total of 48 per cent of waste was landfilled in 2011, a decrease on the 2003 figure of 61 per cent.


Current public expenditure on health care in Ireland averaged €3,044 per person in 2011, an increase of 15 per cent on 2002.

Life expectancy at birth in Ireland in 2011, as calculated by Eurostat, is 83 years for females, which is 0.4 years above the EU average. The male life expectancy at birth in Ireland was 78.6 years, nearly two years above the EU average


Bad News


The public balance deficit was the third highest of any EU member state at just over 8 per cent of GDP, while government debt increased to 117.4 per cent of GDP, having been at only 44.2 per cent of GDP in 2008.

Ireland’s gross fixed capital formation fell sharply since 2008 to only 10 per cent of GDP in 2012, lower than any other EU state.

In 2012, Ireland was the fifth most expensive state behind Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Luxembourg – with prices here recorded as 15 per cent above the EU average.


Ireland’s rating in comparison to EU average.

Current expenditure by central and local government as a percentage of GDP increased each year between 2003 and 2010, rising from 27 per cent in 2003 to 39.3 per cent in 2010. However there was a small decline in 2011 when current expenditure by central and local government fell to 38.1 per cent of GDP and a further small drop in 2012 to 37.7 per cent.


Graph of Central and Local Government current expenditure, 2003-2012.


Unemployment rate was the fifth highest in the EU. The employment rate (for those aged 15-64) in Ireland rose from 65.2 per cent in 2003 to 69.1 per cent in 2007, but fell to 58.8 per cent by 2012.

imageEmployment rates by sex from 2003-2013.


The number of new houses and apartments, after peaking at almost 90,000 during the boom in 2006, collapsed to 8,488 in 2012, below the level in 1970, which is one of the factors being blamed for rising prices in the capital.


Average class size at primary level in Ireland is the second highest in the EU. Average class size at primary level in Ireland in 2010/2011 was 24.1.

There was a decrease in spending by a fifth – 20.1 per cent – at third level, despite increase in primary and secondary.


Over the period 2007-2012, the number of sexual offences increased by 50 per cent while the number of robbery, extortion and hijacking offences over the same time period rose by nearly 30 per cent.


In 2011 6.9 per cent of the population were in consistent poverty. This was an increase on the level recorded in 2010, when 6.3 per cent of the population was living in consistent poverty.


The percentage of waste recovered in Ireland rose to 43 per cent in 2011, from just under a quarter in 2003.

Do you agree with the CSO results – is Ireland seeing an improvement or do we still have some way to go. Why not tell us in the comments section below.

Read: Penney’s, helping the Irish economy since 1979>
Read: European stocks mixed as Chinese economy growth slows down>

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.