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ESRI: One in five people are living in jobless households

The percentage of households where adults are not working has grown from 15 per cent to 22 per cent in just three years.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

MORE THAN ONE in five people are living in households where adults are not working, according to new research by the Economic and Social Research Institute.

The study, which looked at working-age adults and their dependent children, found the percentage of jobless households grew from 15 per cent in 2007 to 22 per cent in 2010.

Jobless households are homes where unemployment, illness, disability and age means that adults spend less than one fifth of the available time in employment.

It is likely that the current figure could be even higher as unemployment has continued to rise over the past two years and is currently at 14.8 per cent.

The report also found jobless adults in Ireland are less likely to live with a working adult and are much more likely to live with children.

People with low levels of education were most likely to be in a jobless household, as were lone parents and people with a disability. Almost one in five of people living in jobless households were adults with a disability.

The report found that welfare payments were vital in lifting jobless households above the generally-accepted financial poverty threshold, but there has been no improvement in their living standards or levels of financial stress over the period.

The Irish rate of people who have a job but who are living in poor households increased slightly during the recession from 7 per cent in 2007 to 8 per cent in 2010, and is now similar to the EU average.

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The author of the report Dorothy Watson said there had been some unexpected findings.

“While unemployment is clearly important in accounting for the high level of joblessness in Ireland, it is far from being the dominant factor. Only about one third of the adults in jobless households would classify themselves as unemployed,” she said.

“Tackling household joblessness will require a very broad approach, addressing a range of barriers to work.”

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