ESRI February Newsletter 2023

Dear Reader,

In February, my colleagues published a rather stark report on housing outcomes for children. While most children are thankfully living in adequate housing, the impact of poorer housing conditions on children is significant and long lasting. They face greater social and emotional difficulties, have less positive interactions with others compared to their peers, and their health is harmed. Respiratory problems are more common for children in these situations because of damp and inadequate heating. Childhood accidents were also more common. As the report authors pointed out, housing policy needs to focus on quality as much as supply and affordability. Welfare supports, increased inspections and the following up of standards in rented and social housing are some policy solutions proposed.

Another piece of research we published focused on career decision-making among young people. Do the sources of information vary by the family social background and the social mix of the school the young person attends? The short answer is yes, of course. Especially for those attending fee-paying schools – they have greater access to in-school career talks and individual guidance sessions. But providing targeted additional guidance resources towards schools serving more disadvantaged populations is one idea which can help counterbalance resources and bring about greater equality in higher education participation.

I was also glad to see our Tax, Welfare and Pensions team addressing the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development, and the Islands on the topic of the introduction of an automatic enrolment pension scheme. Ireland’s ageing population and our lack of an additional system on top of the State pension (which makes us unique among other OECD countries) means such a scheme is important and will be a positive development. As ever, we’re grateful our expertise is sought in such debates.

Throughout March we have important events lined up, with two looking at research related to migrants’ experiences on this island. Please consider attending. You can register below.


Professor Alan Barrett