Ireland fifth most expensive state in European Union

Ireland has highest fertility rate and second highest class size in EU according to CSO

Ireland was the only country in the EU to experience a decrease in inflation between 2008 and 2012 but prices remain high by EU standards according to a new report from the Central Statistics Office.

Ireland was the only country in the EU to experience a decrease in inflation between 2008 and 2012 but prices remain high by EU standards according to a new report from the Central Statistics Office.

Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 13:52

Ireland is the fifth most expensive state in the EU, according to a new report from the Central Statistics Office.

According to the report, only Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Luxembourg are more expensive places to live within the EU, with Irish prices 15 per cent above the EU average.

The report, Measuring Ireland’s Progress 2012, said this was a “considerable improvement” on the 2008 figure, when Irish prices were the second highest in the EU, at 30 per cent above the EU average.

The report looked at comparative statistics for Ireland against other EU member states in that year. Among the categories examined are the economy, employment and education.

Ireland has the highest fertility rate and the second lowest divorce rate in the EU in 2012. Its population is increasing at the third highest rate in the EU and it has the highest proportion of young people and the second lowest proportion of old people in the EU.

Average class size at primary level in Ireland is the second highest in the EU, though the early school-leaver rate is better than the EU average. The proportion of the population aged 25-34 in Ireland that has completed third-level education is the fourth highest in the EU.

As regards macroeconomic indicators, GDP rose slightly by 0.2 per cent in 2012. The public balance deficit was the third highest of any EU member state at just over 8 per cent of GDP, while government debt increased to 117.4 per cent of GDP, having been at only 44.2 per cent of GDP in 2008.

The number of new houses and apartments, after peaking at almost 90,000 in 2006, collapsed to 8,488 in 2012, below the level in 1970. Ireland’s employment rate was the fifth lowest in the EU, and its unemployment rate was the fifth highest in the EU. The productivity of the Irish workforce remained above the EU average.

The CSO main observations were:

Economy:

Despite low growth rate, Ireland had the third highest GDP per capita in the EU at 29 per cent above the EU average, although, based on GNI (gross national income), Ireland was the eleventh highest at 5 per cent above the EU average.

The productivity of the Irish workforce in 2012, measured by GDP per person employed, was 43 per cent higher than the EU average. As Irish employees work longer hours, the productivity per hour worked is relatively lower, but still 29 per cent above the EU average.

Employment and unemployment:

The employment rate (for those aged 15-64) in Ireland rose from 65.2 per cent in 2003 to 69.1 per cent in 2007, but fell to 58.8 per cent by 2012. However the employment rate increased slightly in 2013 to 60.2 per cent. The male employment rate was stable over the 2003 to 2008 period at about 76 per cent but fell sharply over the next three years to 62.4 per cent in 2012 before increasing slightly to 64.6 per c ent in 2013.

The female employment rate increased from 55.4 per cent in 2003 to 60.6 per cent in 2007 before falling to 55.2 per cent in 2012 and increasing slightly to 55.9 per cent in 2013. In 2012, Ireland’s employment rate was the fifth lowest in the EU, and its unemployment rate was the fifth highest rate in the EU.

Social cohesion:

The at risk of poverty rate in Ireland was 15 per cent in 2011 which was below the EU rate of 17 per cent. In 2011 6.9 per cent of the population were in consistent poverty. This was an increase on the level recorded in 2010, when 6.3 per cent of the population was living in consistent poverty. Ireland’s net official development assistance increased from 0.53 per cent of GNI in 2007 to 0.59 per cent in 2008, before declining to 0.5 per cent in 2011, which is short of the UN 2007 target of 0.7 per cent.

Education:

Real expenditure per student in Ireland increased over the period 2003-2012 by 16 per cent at first level and by 12 per cent at second level. However there was a decrease of a fifth (20.1 per cent) at third level over the same time period.

A tenth of the Irish population aged 18-24 left school with at most lower secondary education in 2012, better than the EU average of 13 per cent. Average class size at primary level in Ireland in 2010/2011 was 24.1, the second highest in the EU.

Health: Current public expenditure on health care in Ireland averaged €3,044 per person in 2011 (at constant 2012 prices), an increase of 15 per cent on 2002. Life expectancy at birth in Ireland in 2011, as calculated by Eurostat, is 83 years for females, which is 0.4 years above the EU average.

The male life expectancy at birth in Ireland was 78.6 years, nearly two years above the EU average. A 65-year old man in Ireland can now expect to live a further 16.6 years, while a 65-year old woman can expect to live 19.8 years.

Population: Ireland had the third highest percentage increase in population between 2002 and 2012 in the EU. Ireland had the highest fertility rate in the EU in 2011 at 2.04; the EU average was 1.57. The divorce rate in Ireland was 0.7 divorces per 1,000 population in 2011, the second lowest rate in the EU.

In 2012, Ireland had the highest proportion of young people (0-14) in the EU, and the second lowest proportion of old people (65 and over); these combined to give Ireland an age dependency ratio that was similar to the EU average.

Housing: The number of dwelling units built increased sharply to peak at almost 90,000 in 2006 before collapsing to 8,488 in 2012, below the level in 1970. The average value of a new housing loan in Ireland rose from €159,600 in 2003 to €270,200 in 2008 before dropping by over a third to €173,600 in 2012.

Crime: The number of sexual offences increased by 50 per cent between 2007 and 2012, while the number of robbery, extortion and hijacking offences over the same time period rose by nearly 30 per cent and the number of burglary and related offences increased by nearly 19 per cent.

However the number of homicide offences fell by just over 40 per cent between 2007 and 2012, from 132 to 79. There were also decreases in public order and other social code offences, which fell by nearly 28 per cent over the same time period, while damage to property and to the environment fell by nearly 25 per cent.

Environment: Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions were at 106 per cent of 1990 levels in 2011. This was lower than the Kyoto 2008-2012 target (by seven percentage points). The level of acid rain precursor emissions fell from 464.6 SO2 equivalent per 1,000 tonnes of gas emitted in 2000 to 318.1 in 2008, 4 per cent above the Gothenburg Protocol 2010 target level of 306. This decrease is mainly due to lower levels of sulphur dioxide emissions.

The percentage of waste recovered in Ireland rose to 43 per cent in 2011, from just under a quarter in 2003, and 48 per cent of waste was landfilled in 2011, a decrease on the 2003 figure of 61 per cent. The landfill percentage varies widely in EU states, from 93per cent in Bulgaria to only 0.5 per cent in Germany, where recycling and incineration rates are high.

www.cso.ie

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