Financial strain, overcrowded housing, deprivation - the young have it tougher, says ESRI

Research finds over-65s have fewer quality-of-life problems than younger adults

Financial strain, overcrowded housing and deprivation were among the most serious problems for young adults, according to ESRI research.

Financial strain, overcrowded housing and deprivation were among the most serious problems for young adults, according to ESRI research.

 

Younger people are having a tougher time of it in modern Ireland than the over-65s, new research has suggested.

Far more of those aged 18-30 have multiple quality-of-life problems than people over 65, the research from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has found.

Financial strain, overcrowded housing and deprivation were among the most serious problems for young adults, while poor health and feeling unsafe were among the worrying issues for older people.

Differences between social classes were also identified, with poorer adults significantly more likely to have “multiple problems” than wealthier people. Their problems include poverty, financial stress and housing quality and health.

Recession

Dorothy Watson

Published today by the Department of Social Protection, the research goes beyond income to measure Irish adults’ quality of life. It used 11 indicators to examine not only economic wellbeing, but also physical and mental health.

Drawing on 2013 survey data from the Central Statistics Office, the indicators used were income poverty, inability to afford basic goods and services, financial strain, poor health, mental distress, housing quality problems, neighbourhood problems, crowded accommodation, mistrust in institutions, lack of social support, and feeling unsafe in one’s local area. The findings apply to adults over 18.

Just over 70 per cent of all adults had experienced at least one of the issues, while 25.5 per cent had faced three or more of them.

The ESRI found that while 31 per cent of those aged 18-30 faced problems in relation to three or more of the issues, only 20 per cent of those aged 65-70 and those aged 71-85 reported a similar level of problems.

Social class

Ms Watson said the findings were consistent with those of other studies, with evidence of younger adults contending with multiple social stressors less likely to impact on older people. These included the cost and availability of housing, childcare costs and increased precariousness of work.

In contrast, successive budgets had protected pensions.

She said better public services in other societies helped to mitigate some of these stressors, particularly on the poor and younger adults.