A Decade of Deprivation: trends 2005-2014

The recently released CSO Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC)  provides the most detailed insight that we have into the impact of the recent recession, and evolving recovery, on the day-to-day living standards of people and families in the Republic of Ireland.

One of its indicators tracks deprivation, measured as the percentage of the population who report that they are unable to afford two or more of eleven basic items. These include:

  • Going without heating at some stage in the last year;

  • Unable to afford a morning, afternoon or evening out in the last fortnight;

  • Unable to afford two pairs of strong shoes;

  • Unable to afford a roast once a week;

  • Unable to afford a meal with meat, chicken or fish every second day;

  • Unable to afford new (not second-hand) clothes;

  • Unable to afford a warm waterproof coat;

  • Unable to afford to keep the home adequately warm;

  • Unable to afford to replace any worn out furniture;

  • Unable to afford to have family or friends for a drink or meal once a month;

  • Unable to afford to buy presents for family or friends at least once a year.

The most recent data, for 2014, allows us to look back over the rates and experiences of deprivation over the past decade; and its results are telling. In 2005, 14.8% of the Irish population experienced deprivation and a decade later this had almost doubled to 29%. During the decade deprivation rates fell to a low of 11.8% (2007) become climbing to a recession fuelled peak of 30.5% in 2013.

The trends within these eleven items gives some further insight into how people experienced this increase. The chart presents the change in the proportion of the population who experienced deprivation on each of the items between 2005 and 2014. While there are increases for all of the eleven indicators, the biggest changes imply that people had to cut back on socialising, heating their home and replacing furniture.

As much as these trends are informative of the experience of households over the past decade, they should also offer a useful barometer of the living standards experience of recovery in the years to come.

Further details on this data and these trends are outlined in the latest edition of the NERI’s Quarterly Economic Facts document (see indicator 5.1).

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Micheál Collins