An article in the current edition of the CPSU's Aontas Magazine by Dr Micheál Collins (NERI) highlights the most recent CSO data on income in Ireland. In particular, the article notes the CSO's findings on the distribution of disposable income - the money households have in their pocket to spend after receiving any social welfare entitlements and having paid their taxes.
In 2010 the CSO found that 30% of households lived on less than €21,000 per annum (disposable income) while 60% of households lived on less than €38,000. Looking at the distribution of disposable income, chart 1 shows the division of income across all households who are classified into ten groups - ranging from the 10% of households with the lowest incomes (bottom) to the richest 10% (top).
In 2010 the top 10% of Irish households received more than 13 times the share of the bottom 10%; indeed the income share of the top 10% exceeds the combined share of the bottom 50% of households.
The CSO's data highlights that there are big and persistent divides in the income distribution in Ireland. It is useful knowledge as we consider reforms to taxes, benefits and earnings. NERI will be using this data to monitor and examine policy changes in its various publications in the months to come. However, one key point that the data illustrates is that living on a low income is a day-to-day reality for a large number of Irish households and Government and society generally needs to take account of this as we consider policy options.
Full article is available here.