Poorest households in Ireland see biggest increase in Covid-19 cases – CSO

Some 23% of cases occurred in more affluent households, according to new study

The poorest households have suffered the biggest increase in cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, though more affluent households have been harder hit, new figures show.

This second report from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on cases and deaths of the virus show that since the week ending Friday 13th March to the end of last week (May 22nd) there were 24,513 cases of Covid-19 and 1,592 deaths. The median age of cases was 48 and the median age of those who died was 83.

Some 25 per cent of cases occurred in low-income areas, where the median household income is less than €40,000, although 30 per cent of the population lives here. In contrast, in areas where median household income is €60,000 or more cases accounted for 23 per cent of the total, though just 18 per cent of people live here.

The greatest proportionate increases have however been in poorest areas. Where the median household income is less than €30,000 there were no recorded cases in the first two weeks but these households now account for three per cent. And where median income is €30,000 to €40,000 the proportion of cases has increased from 15 per cent to 22 per cent of the total.



In contrast, while those living in households where the median income is €60,000 or more accounted for more 25 per cent of cases at the start of the crisis and their incidence has fallen to 22 per cent.

The data confirm city-dwellers have been worst affected, accounting for more than half (57 per cent) of cases while accounting for just 47 per cent of the population. Rural and remote areas in contrast accounted for 14 per cent of cases, although 19 per cent of people live here.

Tracking cases over the weeks shows numbers have decreased in cites, from a high of 3,518 cases (59 per cent) in the week ending 17th April to 310 (57 per cent) last week, while increasing in urban towns, from a low of six cases (five per cent) in the week ending 13th March to 343 (12 per cent) last week.

Dublin hits its peak in the week ending 10th April, with 772 new cases and 128 deaths.

Most of the country had its peak the following week when there were 2,016 new cases and 270 deaths nationally. Cavan and Monaghan hit their peak a week later when Cavan had a high of 182 new cases and Monaghan recorded 176 cases.

Roscommon has only seen a significant decrease in cases in the last week, ending 22nd May. New cases had been climbing there since April 3rd, from five that week to a high of 66 the week ending May 15th. There were 16 cases there last week. This reflects, says the CSO, movement out of the cities and into independent urban towns.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times