In Ireland, the number of people living in poverty is steadily increasing. Since the beginning of the recession in 2008, the number has risen due to situational factors, such as unemployment and poor health, and exacerbated structural economic inequalities that perpetuate a cycle of poverty in Ireland.
Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Ireland
- There are 790,000 people living in poverty: According to the Irish National Anti-Poverty Strategy, people living in poverty in Ireland are unable to maintain a standard of living acceptable by Irish society due to their lack of resources.
- Only 18 percent of adults in poverty hold jobs: Despite working, these people do not earn salaries that allow them to cover basic costs of living for themselves and their families. They are called ‘the working poor’ by Social Justice Ireland.
- There is a large income gap in Ireland: Social Justice Ireland found that the bottom 10 percent of Irish households only received 3 percent of the country’s total disposable income, while the top 10 percent of households received 24 percent of the income.
- There are regional differences in poverty: Poverty in the more developed southern and eastern regions of Ireland is 50 percent less per capita than in the rural border, midlands and west regions of the country.
- Disadvantaged populations are more likely to be in poverty: Sick or disabled people, and children younger than 18, are more likely to be at risk of poverty or in consistent poverty than healthy adults.
- Single parent households are three times as likely to be in poverty: Compared to two-parent households, families with only a single parent are three times as likely to be in consistent poverty and twice as likely to be at risk of poverty.
- Rent prices are increasing: Rent prices in Ireland are rising at six times the rate of European rates. When housing prices rise, the prices of other goods rise as well, causing poor families to stretch their resources to cover basic life necessities.
- Moree than 8,500 people were homeless in Ireland in December 2017: This number includes more than 3,000 children and represents a 17 percent increase in the number of homeless families since December 2016.
- Despite the poverty, economic growth is occurring: The Irish economy has moved past its recovery phase following the recession and into a time of growth. In 2017, 55,000 jobs were created, and in 2018, 4 percent growth of the economy is projected.
- Specific policies are necessary to reduce poverty: To combat poverty in Ireland, specific government policies to address the areas of structural inequality are necessary. For example, creating a minimum living wage so all workers can afford a basic standard of life.
Even though there are still many steps needed to overcome poverty in Ireland, the Irish people are highly resilient. The 2017 World Happiness Report found that Ireland is the 15th happiest country in the world. Additionally, the report found only a small loss in happiness among the Irish people since the 2008 recession, and a high number of people reported they have someone to count on — strengths necessary to survive hardship.
– Hayley Herzog