Irish household income up 10% in 2007


Average Irish household income increased by 9.9 per cent in 2007, according to new figures published today by the Central Statistics Office.

The survey on income and living conditions in Ireland showed that in 2007 annual average disposable income was almost €48,000 compared to €43,646 in 2006.

When household income was adjusted to take household size and composition into account, the average equivalised disposable income was €23,610 per person in 2007, an increase of 11.2 per cent on 2006.

Income from SSIAs that matured in 2007 increased average equivalised disposable income by 3.2 per cent.

Almost 17 per cent of the population were at risk of poverty in 2007, a figure unchanged since 2006. The at risk of poverty rate refers to the proportion of people with income below the poverty threshold which was €11,890 per annum in 2007.

Children had the highest risk of poverty of any age group, with one in five (19.9 per cent) being at risk of poverty in 2007, a decrease of 2.4 per cent since 2006.

There was an increase in the risk of poverty rate for older people (aged 65 and over) with 16.6 per cent at risk of poverty in 2007 compared to 13.6 per cent in 2006.

Last year saw a significant decline in the at risk of poverty rate for lone parent households with 37.6 per cent at risk of poverty in 2007 compared to 45.6 per cent in 2006.

However, lone parent households continued to be the most at risk of poverty when compared with people living in other household types. Other high risk groups were adults of working age living alone (29.6 per cent) and older people living alone (24.3 per cent).

The consistent poverty rate fell from 6.5 per cent in 2006 to 5.1 per cent in 2007. Consistent poverty is defined by an inability to afford basic items such as a winter coat or shoes and not being able to afford to adequately heat a home.

Age Action has expressed concern the CSO figures show the percentage of older people at risk of poverty rose last year.

Some 16.6 per cent of people aged over 65 were at risk of poverty in 2007, compared to 13.6 per cent in 2006, the organisation noted. For a person aged over 65, with no children under 18, the numbers at risk of poverty went from 19.3 per cent in 2006 to 24.3 per cent last year.

“The figures are evidence of the need to ensure that social welfare payments keep track of the rising costs of living,” Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins said.

“The fact that the Living Alone Allowance has not been increased since 1996 is contributing to poverty levels among older people, and the decision to freeze the payment for the last 12 years needs to be reviewed.”

A total of 96 per cent of older people living alone would be at risk of poverty without social welfare payments, compared to 24.3 per cent when these payments are included, Age Action said.