Average incomes in Republic up to just 1% below boom-time high

CSO survey details recovery in household disposable income since 2012

Average incomes in the Republic are now just 1 per cent below where they were at the height of the boom.

Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures show average household disposable income rose by nearly 5 per cent to €48,476 last year.

This was 17 per cent higher than at the low point of recession in 2012 when it was €41,399 and just 1.1 per cent lower than the boom-time high of €49,043 recorded in 2008.

The figures, contained in the CSO’s latest Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC), are more likely a reflection of the rapid growth in overall employment since 2012 rather than direct wage increases.


They show weekly disposable income, essentially earnings minus taxes, for individuals increased 5.3 per cent from €449.04 in 2016 to €472.81 in 2017.

Individuals with a highest level of educational attainment of a “third level degree or higher” had the highest annual disposable income at €34,050, up from €31,869 the previous year.

Unemployed individuals had the lowest disposable income of the categories analysed at €13,226, barely changed from the previous year. Average disposable income for men in 2017 was €20,888, which was nearly 3 per cent higher than the corresponding figure for women at €20,291.

A regional breakdown showed individuals living in the eastern and midland regions had the highest level of disposable income at €22,413. This was nearly 22 per cent higher than those living in the northern and eastern regions (€18,402) and 18.5 per cent higher than those living in the southern region (€18,909).

Children’s health

The survey also included a sub-section on health and children’s health. It found that in 2017 about two in five (38 per cent) workers described their physical status at work as “mostly sitting”, of which 41 per cent spent three hours or less per week engaged in physical activities when not working.

About three-quarters (75.6 per cent) of those aged 16 years and over reported having visited their general practitioner (GP) at least once in the past 12 months, while nearly 16 per cent reported having visited their GP on six or more occasions.

Almost one third (32.5 per cent) of households with children that needed dental examinations and/or treatments reported that the associated costs were a financial burden, compared to just under a quarter (23.8 per cent ) of households without children.

"The SILC household survey is the official source of data on household and individual income, and it provides a number of key national poverty indicators such as the at risk of poverty rate, the consistent poverty rate and rates of enforced deprivation," said Gerry Reilly from the CSO.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times