Department of Social Protection of Ireland

11/28/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/28/2019 05:21

Doherty welcomes continued social recovery as incomes and living conditions improve


The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty T.D., today welcomed the continuing downward trend in national poverty rates and emphasised that they demonstrated the impact of the Government's economic policies as well as her own Department's income and employment supports. Today's data was published by the Central Statistics Office in its annual Survey on Income and Living Conditions2018.

The Minister expressed her satisfaction with the very significant fall in the consistent poverty rate in recent years - from a height of 9.0% in 2013 down to 5.6% in 2018.

There was also a significant decrease in the basic deprivation rate - this measure experienced a sharp decline in recent years, dropping almost 15.4 percentage points from its height of 30.5% in 2013 to 15.1% in 2018.

The at-risk-of-poverty rate was reduced to 14% from the 2017 figure of 15.7%.

Child poverty has also improved with the 2018 data reflecting a reduction of 1.1% to 7.7% since 2017.

Rates for the three main poverty indicators over the period 2009-2018

Consistent Poverty​ ​5.5% ​6.3% 6.9% ​8.2% ​9.0% ​8.3% ​8.5% ​8.2% ​6.7% ​5.6%
Basic Deprivation​ ​17.1% 22.6% ​24.5% ​27.0% ​30.5% ​28.9% ​25.4% ​21.0% ​18.8% ​15.1%
​At risk of Poverty (APR) ​14.1% ​14.7% ​16.0% ​16.9% ​16.2%


​16.3% 16.2%​ ​15.7% ​14%

Welcoming the trends in today's report, Minister Doherty said:

'I am very pleased to see that the recent downward trend in the poverty figures has continued, particularly another significant reduction in the consistent poverty rate which has now fallen by almost 40 per cent over the 5 years up to 2018. I am also happy to see the further reduction in the child poverty rate.

'This is no accident. These figures reflect in part the positive impact that the targeted measures introduced in Budgets 2017 and 2018 have had on those most in need, particularly children. Within my own Department, these measures have included increases to the weekly welfare rates; increased income disregards for lone parent and working family payments and increases in qualified child payments and improvements in the National Minimum Wage hourly rate. As well as targeted social supports in recent Budgets, the Government's economic policies have created a jobs-led recovery and assisted many more people into employment thereby making a significant difference to their quality of life.

'We are determined to build on today's progress. Soon, I will be publishing a Social Inclusion Strategy which will set out a roadmap and targets for the next few years as we build a fairer and more equal Ireland for all.'

Pointing to these contributory factors, the Minister noted that median disposable income increased by 9.6% in 2018 - rising to €22,872 per person. The Minister also emphasised that unemployment had fallen from a peak of 15.4% in 2012 to 5.7% at the end of 2018 - the period covering today's report. Unemployment has since fallen to 4.8% as of October 2019, the lowest since 2008.

The Minister also noted that the social welfare system continued to perform strongly in 2018, reducing the at-risk-of-poverty rate from 15.7% to 14% after social transfers. This equates to a poverty reduction effect of 54%; ensuring Ireland remains one of the best performing EU countries in reducing poverty through social transfers.

Impact of Social transfers










At-risk-of-poverty rate before
social transfers (excl pensions)










At-risk-of-poverty rate after social transfers (excl pensions)










Minister Doherty added that:

'Social Transfers through our payments and benefits reflect this country's commitment to fairness and the societal good. The Government remains committed to supporting the most vulnerable in our society and our expectation is that we will continue to see reductions in the poverty rates in the coming years.'

Social Transfers are generally categorised in the Survey on Income and Living Conditions as unemployment benefits, old-age benefits, occupational pensions, children/family related allowances, housing allowances and other social transfers such as survivors, sickness or disability benefits.


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Note to Editors:

Survey on Income and Living Conditions

The Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) is an annual survey carried out by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) of a representative sample of about 4,400 households or about 11,100 individuals in Ireland. The survey collects information on the income and living conditions of different households in Ireland, in order to derive indicators on poverty, deprivation and social exclusion. It is carried out in every EU country under EU legislation and commenced in Ireland in June 2003. The findings for 2018 can be found at: This release presents results based on data collected in the period January 2017 to December 2018.

Basic deprivation: People are regarded as experiencing basic deprivation if they live in a household deprived of 2 or more of the 11 basic deprivation items because they could not afford them (i.e. not by choice). The figure in 2018 was 15.1%.At-risk-of-poverty: People are regarded as being at-risk-of-poverty if their equivalised income is below 60% of the median income. In 2018, the at-risk-of poverty threshold was €13,723 per annum or €263.90 per week for a single person. The at-risk-of-poverty figure in 2018 was 14%.Consistent poverty is the measure used to set the national social target for poverty reduction. It is the overlap of at-risk-of poverty and basic deprivation. The consistent poverty rate was 5.6% in 2018. Poverty reduction effect of social transfers: The impact of social transfers is measured by the percentage reduction, in absolute and relative terms, in the at-risk-of-poverty rate as a result of social transfers (excluding pensions).

DEASP Budgetary changes - between Budget 2017 and Budget 2020

  • Increase in weekly payments(pensioners, lone parents, job seekers, carers, widows, people with a disability): €15 per increase in the max rate of all weekly payments with proportionate increases for qualified adult dependents.
  • Older People(in addition to weekly rate/QA/QC increases)
    • Increase by €5pw of Living Alone Allowance to €14 (B2020);
    • Introduction of €2.50 pw Telephone Support Allowance (B2018)
  • Children
    • Introduction of under/over 12 Qualified Child Payment (B2019);
    • Increase in Qualified Child Payment Rate (from €29.80 to €36/€40 in B2020 resulting in an overall increase of €6.20 pw in the under-12 rates and €10.60 for over-12s);
    • Increase in Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance to €150 for 4-11 year olds and €275 for 12-22 year olds (B2019)
    • Introduction & extension of Hot School Meals programme pilot (B2019 & B2020); increased funding for School Meals programme (B2017; B2018)
  • Working Families
    • Income thresholds for the Working Family Payment increased by €20 per week for families of up to 3 children since Budget 2017;
    • Introduction of €95 per week maintenance disregard for housing costs with remainder to be assessed at 50% (B2019).
    • Back to Work Family Dividend scheme extended beyond 2017 and continues to support parents entering or re-entering employment.
  • Lone Parents(in addition to weekly rate/QC increases)
    • Earnings disregard for One Parent Family and Jobseeker's Transition payments was raised from €90 to €165 in successive Budgets
    • Lone parents also benefited from new €500 Cost of Education Allowance per annum for parents in receipt of Back to Education Allowance.
  • Young Jobseekers
    • Reduction in personal rent contribution of €10/€20 for JSA recipients on age-related reduced rates (reduction dependent on JSA rate) (B2017)
    • Increase in Back to Education Allowance for those aged under 26 participating in education/training (B2017)
    • Introduction of Youth Employment Support Scheme, targeting young jobseekers (B2018)
    • Increases in age-related reduced JS rates for under-26s with
    • Increase to full rate for 25 year-olds and for 18-24 year-olds living independently who are in receipt of housing supports (B2020)
    • Inclusion of work experience programme for young jobseekers in Rural Social Scheme (B2018)
  • Self-Employed
    • Extension of eligibility for invalidity pension (B2017)
    • Extension of Treatment Benefit scheme (B2017)
    • Eligibility for Jobseekers Benefit (B2020)
  • Disability and Carers (in addition toincreases in weekly/QC rates)
    • Continued payment of Carers Allowance for a period of 12 weeks after care recipient moves permanently into nursing home (B2017)
    • Continued payment of Domiciliary Care Allowance for 3 months in cases where care recipient dies (B2019)
    • Increase in the number of hours that carers can work/study outside the home from 15 to 18.5 hours per week (B2020)
    • Provision of funding for cost of disability research (B2019)
  • National Minimum Wage: The hourly rate for the NMW has increased from €9.25 to €9.80
  • Fuel Allowance: the number of weeks for the season has been increased from 26 to 28 and the rate was increased by €2 to €24.50 per week in B2020. Total value of this payment is now €630 per annum.
  • Christmas Bonus: A Christmas Bonus of 85% was paid in 2017 and was increased to 100% for 2018 and 2019.