The Impacts of COVID-19 and Area-Level Deprivation

As part of the ongoing research programme between the ESRI and Pobal the unequal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are currently being examined by ESRI researchers. The first report from this work has just been published and examines the economic impact of the pandemic and how it relates to area-level deprivation. Work currently in progress investigates the health impact of the pandemic by examining how COVID-19 infection rates relate to area-level deprivation.

  1. Economic Impact of the Pandemic

In July 2023 we published the first of these reports on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on disadvantaged areas. The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the payment to protect those who lost their employment due to the pandemic, was examined using data from the Department of Social Protection. High levels of PUP recipiency were more likely in more deprived areas given the prevalence of jobs in these areas which were impacted by the restrictions which formed part of the response to the pandemic. Furthermore, when restrictions were eased the PUP rates in these areas also fell the fastest. In more affluent areas people were more likely to stay on the PUP for longer. These findings are important as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic shock and for future planning of pandemic responses.

The full report can be read here

The press release which summarises the main findings can be found here


  1. Health Impact of the Pandemic

The team are currently working on examining the unequal health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across Ireland. Access has been granted to de-identified infection rate data along with a geographic identifier (Electoral District, ED). This will allow for the generation of an ED infection rate for all 3,409 ED’s in Ireland which can then be examined in a similar way as above to answer the question: Were COVID-19 infection rates higher in more deprived areas? International literature suggests more deprived areas had higher rates of infection than more affluent areas but to date this has not been quantified in Ireland.


For more info on this research please contact