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Introduction

Welcome to the 2015 edition of Measuring Ireland's Progress and the fourth edition designed for the web and mobile devices.

The progress indicators used in this report provide an overall view of the social, economic, environment, education and health situation in Ireland.  From the feedback we have received on earlier reports, users have found it useful to have a diverse set of important indicators brought together in one report. A similar approach has also been followed in other CSO publications such as Women and Men in Ireland and Regional Quality of Life in Ireland. This report is the thirteenth in the Measuring Ireland’s Progress series. In June 2012 the CSO launched a new web-based report which brings together national data on 27 key short-term economic indicators in a timely and accessible way. The CSO also publishes the Macro Economic Scoreboard, an annual process which the European Commission undertakes using a scoreboard of eleven headline indicators and 28 auxiliary indicators to screen for and correct any macroeconomic imbalances that may occur in Member States.

Internationally there has been an increasing level of interest in national progress indicators. A number of other EU countries have published similar reports (e.g., Spain and Germany) and the OECD publishes an annual Factbook covering more than 100 indicators. The OECD is also actively involved in measuring well-being and progress through their OECD Better Life Initiative and their work programme on measuring progress.

 

Pádraig Dalton,

Director General

 

This web-based edition of Measuring Ireland’s Progress is organised so that fifty eight indicators are presented in five themes:

Theme

Sub-theme

Society

Population

 

Social cohesion

 

Crime

Economy

Finance

 

Employment and unemployment

 

Housing

Environment

 

Education

 

Health

 


Most indicators are presented in both a national and an international context. The national context is generally in a time series format while the international context compares Ireland with other EU countries, and where available, with three EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) and five countries (Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey) who were official EU candidate countries in 2015. In cases where tables are not sorted by year, the ranking variable is highlighted with a darker background. The appendices describe the indicator definitions and data sources in greater detail. Where a graph and/or map is available for an indicator this will be indicated below the text for that indicator.

The following symbols are used:

:    data is not available.

c    data is confidential.

 

Highlights

 

Ireland has the second highest fertility rate in the EU, at 1.94, and just over a third of all Irish births are outside marriage, below the EU average of 40%. Ireland has the lowest divorce rate, at 0.6 per 1,000 population. Ireland has the highest proportion of young people in the EU and the second lowest proportion of old people while the Irish population is increasing at the third highest rate in the EU. The proportion of the population aged 25-34 that has completed third-level education is the third highest in the EU.

Ireland had the fifth smallest increase in inflation in the EU between 2011 and 2015 but prices remain high by EU standards. Ireland was the third most expensive EU state in 2015 after Denmark and the United Kingdom with prices 22.5% above the EU average. However this represents an improvement on 2008 when price levels in Ireland were 30% above the EU average and were the second highest in the EU.

The number of weapons and explosives offences fell by 42% between 2010 and 2015 while the number of dangerous or negligent acts fell by 40%. 

The rate of employment in Ireland was the eleventh lowest in the EU in 2015 while the rate of unemployment was the tenth highest. The number of dwelling units built was 12,666 in 2015, (below the number built in 1970), having peaked at almost 90,000 in 2006.  GDP rose by 26.3% in 2015 in Ireland while the rate in the EU was 2.2%. This unprecedented increase in GDP in Ireland in 2015 is linked to the globalisation activities of a very small number of companies. The public balance deficit, at 1.9% of GDP, was the thirteenth smallest in the EU but a big improvement on 2010 when it was 32.1%. Government debt dropped in 2015 to 78.6% of GDP, (below the EU average of 85%), having been 119.5% in 2012 and 2013. Ireland had the second highest GDP per capita in the EU in 2015 at 77% above the EU average.

Population: Ireland accounted for just under 1% of the total EU population in 2015 and had the third highest percentage increase in population between 2005 and 2015 in the EU. Ireland had the second highest fertility rate in the EU in 2014 at 1.94; the EU average was much lower at 1.58. Just over a third (36.3%) of all Irish births in 2014 were outside marriage, below the EU average of 40.2%. The divorce rate in Ireland was 0.6 divorces per 1,000 population in 2014, the lowest rate in the EU. Ireland had the highest proportion of young people (0-14) in the EU, and the second lowest proportion of old people (65 and over); these combined to give Ireland a dependency ratio of 54.1, the eighth highest in the EU. (Tables 1.2, 1.5, 1.6 and 1.7)

Education: Real expenditure per student in Ireland increased over the period 2005-2014 by 3.7% at primary level and there was no change at second level. However there was a decrease of 27.5% at third level over the same time period. In 2015 nearly half (48.6%) of the population aged 25-34 had completed third level education, the third highest rate across the EU. The early school leavers rate in Ireland was lower than the EU average in 2015, when 6.9% of the Irish population aged 18-24 left school with at most lower secondary education, compared to the EU average of 11%. (Tables 4.1, 4.5 and 4.7)

Prices: Ireland had the fifth smallest increase in inflation in the EU between 2011 and 2015, (as measured by the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices). Ireland had the third highest prices levels in the EU in 2015 with prices 22.5% above the EU average and only Denmark and the United Kingdom were more expensive. However this is an improvement on 2008 when price levels in Ireland were 30% above the EU average and were the second highest in the EU. (Tables 2.12 and 2.13)

Crime: The number of weapons and explosives offences fell by 42% between 2010 and 2015, falling from 4,099 recorded offences in 2010 to 2,377 in 2015. The number of dangerous or negligent acts fell by 40% from 2010 to 2015 - these offences are mainly concerned with drink driving. Public order and other social code offences decreased by 39% and most of the offences in this grouping are ones of disorderly conduct. (Table 1.15)

Employment and unemployment: The employment rate (for those aged 15-64) in Ireland dropped sharply from 69.1% in 2007 to 58.8% in 2012 before rising to 64.7% in 2016. The male employment rate decreased from 77.5% in 2007 to 62.4% in 2012 but has increased since then to 69.9% in 2016. The employment rate for females dropped from 60.6% in 2007 to 55.2% in 2012 before increasing to 59.5% in 2016. The unemployment rate in Ireland rose from 4.8% in 2007 to 15% in 2012 before decreasing to 8.6% in 2016.

The employment rate in Ireland in 2015 at 63.1% was the eleventh lowest in the EU. The highest employment rate in 2015 in the EU was in Sweden at 75.5% while the lowest rate was in Greece at 50.8%. The unemployment rate in Ireland in 2015 at 9.8% was the tenth highest in the EU with the lowest rate in Germany at 4.6% and the highest in Greece at 24.9%. (Table 2.14, graph 2.14 and table 2.16)

Housing: The number of dwelling units built increased sharply to peak at almost 90,000 in 2006 before collapsing over the next seven years to stand at 8,301 in 2013. There was a small rise to just over 11,000 dwellings built in 2014 and a further small increase to 12,666 in 2015, below the level in 1970. The average value of a housing loan rose from €229,200 in 2006 to €270,200 in 2008 before dropping by over a third to €173,600 in 2012. There were small rises in the average value of a housing loan over the next three years to stand at €182,400 by 2015. (Graph 2.19 and table 2.20)

Economy:  The GDP growth rate for Ireland in 2015 was 26.3% while the rate in the EU was 2.2%. This unprecedented increase in GDP for Ireland in 2015 is linked to the globalisation activities of a very small number of companies. The public balance deficit was 1.9% of GDP, the thirteenth smallest in the EU and a big improvement on 2010 when it was 32.1%. Government debt dropped in 2015 to 78.6% of GDP, (below the EU average of 85%), having been 119.5% in 2012 and 2013. In 2015 Ireland had the second highest GDP per capita in the EU at 77% above the EU average. Ireland’s gross fixed capital formation was 21.2% of GDP in 2015, above the EU average of 19.5%. The productivity of the Irish workforce in 2015, as measured by GDP per hour worked, was 68.8% higher than the EU average and was the second highest in the EU. (Tables 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.8 and 2.15) 

Health: Current public expenditure on health care in Ireland averaged €2,878 per person in 2014 (at constant 2014 prices), an increase of 6.7% on 2005. Life expectancy at birth in Ireland in 2014, as calculated by Eurostat, is 83.5 years for females, just below the EU average of 83.6 years. The male life expectancy at birth in Ireland was 79.3 years, 1.2 years above the EU average. A 65 year old man in Ireland can now expect to live for a further 17.7 years while a 65 year old woman can expect to live 20.6 years. Healthy life years at birth for females in Ireland was 67.5 years in 2014, the third highest rate in the EU and 5.7 years above the EU average. Male healthy life years at birth in Ireland in 2014 was 66.3 years, the third highest rate in the EU and 4.9 years higher than the EU average. (Tables 5.1, 5.3, 5.4 and 5.5) 

Social cohesion: The at risk of poverty rate in Ireland was 15.6% in 2014 which was below the EU rate of 17.2%. In 2015, 8.7% of the population in Ireland were in consistent poverty. Ireland’s net official development assistance was 0.37% of GNI in 2014, the ninth highest rate in the EU, but below the UN target of 0.7%. (Tables 1.8, 1.10 and 1.13)

Environment:  Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions were at 106% of 1990 levels in 2014. This was 6% lower than the Kyoto 2008-2012 target for Ireland. Total greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland fell by 15.2% between 2004 and 2013, from 69.3 million tonnes of CO2 to 58.8 million tonnes. The percentage of waste recovered in Ireland rose to 54% in 2012, from just under a quarter in 2003, and 38% of waste was landfilled in 2012, a decrease on the 2003 figure of 61%.The landfill percentage varies widely in EU states, from less than 2% in Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, where recycling and incineration rates are high, to around 80% in Greece, Croatia, Malta and Latvia. (Tables 3.1, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6 and 3.7)

 

For further information contact:
Helen Cahill +353 1 4984253 or Moira Buckley +353 21 4535028

or Information Section, Central Statistics Office, Skehard Road, Cork  T12 X00E

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