Three-quarters of earners have incomes below €50,000

Despite its relevance to various public policy issues, information on the levels and distribution of earnings in the Republic of Ireland is limited. Over the next year the NERI plans to address this deficit with research examining incomes and earnings in Ireland based on data from the CSO's Survey on Income and Living Conditions, the National Employment Survey and the Earnings, Hours and Employment Costs Survey.

Of the currently available sources, the most recent statistical report from the Revenue Commissioners offers an insight into the distribution of earnings (from all sources which are subject to income tax) in 2009 - the latest year that complete data is available. The data details the distribution of tax cases (individuals or couples who are jointly assessed) by total gross income for that tax year. We highlight this data in the latest edition of the NERI's Quarterly Economic Facts, indicator 4.6a (p69-70).

The Revenue Commissioner's data offers an insight into the structure of earnings across households in Ireland in 2009. In that year:
•    36% of tax cases reported a gross income of less than €20,000
•    40% of tax cases were in the range from €20,000 to €50,000 per annum
•    18% had incomes between €50,000 and €100,000
•    5% of tax cases had an income in excess of €100,000
•    1% had an income in excess of €200,000
Overall, the data offers some insight into the levels of earnings in Ireland and a reminder of the large number of households and individuals who earn incomes of less than €50,000 per annum. That figure totals 1.66 million tax cases.

Full details in the latest edition of the NERI's Quarterly Economic Facts.

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Micheál Collins