Thousands of households living in “hidden poverty”

Nearly 70% of people experiencing material deprivation are not classified as being at risk of poverty, according to ESRI. This means that there is “hidden” poverty affecting thousands of households across the country.

The ESRI’s latest report also shows lodging costs – whether rent or mortgage – are having a huge impact, with average private rents now nearly doubling from 2012. However, income inequality is at a new all-time high.

According to the report: “We estimate that the at-risk-of-poverty rate in 2021 was 15.6% on a post-housing cost basis (i.e. 785,000 people) compared to 12.4% on a pre-housing cost basis (625,000 people).

However, there is a large group of individuals who report being materially deprived but who are not classified as being at risk of poverty.

We estimate that in 2021, 69% of the 695,000 materially deprived people – unable to afford two or more items from a list of 11 essentials – had incomes above the poverty line on a cost basis after lodging.

“Of these, almost half lived in a household where someone said they had a disability, most of them being less than €100 per week above the poverty line after taking into account the household size.”

working poor

The report, Poverty, income inequality and living standards in Ireland, identifies a large group of working poor.

“Despite being much less at risk of poverty, those living in households where someone of working age is engaged in paid work still represent more than a third of those living below the poverty line,” did he declare.

Among the “working poor” group, half live in rental accommodation, with single parents representing another significant number.

The research was funded by the Community Foundation for Ireland. Write for the Irish Examiner today, its Managing Director Denise Charlton said: “At the heart of cost of living crisis are large groups of people who are really struggling to make ends meet yet are not officially recognized as being at risk of living in poverty.

People with disabilities, tenants and single parents are among those most likely to be burdened by bills, but whose reality is not captured by official figures.

Ms Charlton also said it was “questionable” not to factor in rent or mortgage costs when measuring a family’s or individual’s disposable income.

Barra Roantree, an ESRI economist and author of the report, said the housing issue will require a sustained increase in supply, particularly social and rental housing, while Paul Redmond, an ESRI economist and co- author, pointed out the working poor were also disproportionately dependent on someone earning minimum wage, and raising the minimum wage would have “limited impact.”

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