A new report published by the ESRI and the Department of Social Protection today (16 November 2016) finds that income support, inclusive labour markets and access to quality services are required to address the challenges facing people in social risk groups and those in lower social classes.
The report examined trends in poverty and deprivation in Ireland over a ten-year period (2004 to 2013) covering the boom years, the recession and early recovery. The report also examined quality of life issues for the year 2013. The study uses nationally representative data for over 130,000 individuals, collected by the CSO.
Trends in Basic Deprivation
Deprivation trends by social risk groups and social class
Quality of life
The research examined how 11 types of quality of life (QoL) problems were experienced across social classes and social risk groups. The problems were income poverty, being unable to afford basic goods and services, financial strain, poor health, mental distress, housing quality problems, crowded accommodation, neighbourhood problems, mistrust in institutions (such as the political system, legal system and police), lack of social support and feeling unsafe in the local area.
Patterns by social risk group
Patterns by social class
Poverty and QoL
The report was launched by the Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar, who said: “I welcome the publication of this report. It’s important to point out that a lot has changed for the better in Ireland since 2013 as unemployment has dropped by almost half. Nevertheless the over-riding objective for the Government is to increase employment and ensure that work pays, build real and sustainable economic growth, and protect the most disadvantaged people. Cash transfers provide only part of the solution as no family should be better off on welfare than at work. Also important is improving access to, and reducing the cost of, services like healthcare and childcare. Real progress has been made in all these areas in the last three years ranging from free GP care for kids, paternity benefit and free pre-school provision.”
Dorothy Watson, an author of the report, commented “The results highlighted the significance of lone parenthood and working-age disability. As well as being major risk factors for poverty and deprivation, they make it more likely that the family will be faced with multiple quality of life problems. The complexity of challenges faced by vulnerable groups requires a coordinated response across a number of policy areas. As well as income support and access to work, the response must include high quality services in areas such as health, mental health and housing.”
The ESRI works towards a national vision of ‘Informed policy for a better Ireland’. This means producing high-quality analysis to provide robust evidence for policymaking, with the goals of research excellence and policy impact.
The ESRI produces research that contributes to understanding economic and social change in the new international context and that informs public policymaking and civil society in Ireland.