Working and living below the poverty line: ‘The Working Poor’

Posted on May 08, 2013 by Micheál Collins

16% of the Irish population lives on an income which is less than the official poverty line - about €210 per adult per week. Given a population of approximately 4.58 million people this implies that almost 730,000 live at risk of poverty.

In the latest edition of the NERI's Quarterly Economic Facts document, indicator 5.3 examines the composition of those living below the poverty line in Ireland. Of all the workers in the Republic of Ireland, 6.5% are 'working poor'. When poverty among those aged 16 years and above is decomposed by principle economic status (the main thing that people do), those at work (the working poor) represent 14.2% of all those adults at risk of poverty.

Low wages, limited hours, precarious employment and the sustained impact of the recession goes some way to explaining these figures. It also implies policy challenges; something the NERI will return to in future publication on low pay and earnings.

Full details in the latest edition of the NERI's Quarterly Economic Facts.

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