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Press Statement


17 December 2021

Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2020

The consistent poverty rate for renters in 2020 was almost 12% compared with less than 2% for those living in owner-occupied accommodation.
  • Key findings from SILC 2020 show:
    • The at risk of poverty rate was 13.2% while the consistent poverty rate was 4.7%
    • Those most at risk of poverty were individuals who were unable to work due to long-standing health problems (33.4%) and the unemployed (32.2%)
    • Almost one in 10 (9.1%) went without heating due to financial circumstances in the year prior to their interview date

Go to release: Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2020

SILC data 2020 to 2022 was revised on 7 March 2024 due to changes made to weights, reflecting updated household population benchmarks, because of the availability of Census 2022 data. The data in this publication does not reflect these revisions. For revised data please see SILC 2023 or PxStat.

Results from SILC 2020 were updated at 11am on 06/05/2022 to better reflect the tenure distribution of Irish households. In SILC, weights are applied to the data to ensure the results are reflective of the population as a whole. The survey weights for 2020 SILC results have been adjusted to better reflect the estimated household distribution within the rental sector. While this has not impacted the overall at risk of poverty rate (unchanged at 13.2%), it has resulted in a reduction in the consistent poverty rate (4.7% compared with 5.0%).  Please see SILC 2020 Revisions Information Note  which compares published and revised SILC 2020 main results.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (17 December 2021) issued results from the Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) for 2020.

Commenting on today’s publication, Eva O’Regan, Statistician, said:

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 rate of enforced deprivation and the consistent poverty rate. In 2020 there is a break in the SILC time series. Please see Information note explaining the reason for this time series break and its implications. Income and poverty rate results from SILC for 2020 are calculated from 2019 calendar year income.

The key findings in SILC 2020 show that the median annual household disposable income was €43,915. Disposable household income is gross household income less total tax, social insurance contributions, occupational and private pension contributions and inter-household transfers paid.

Household disposable income rose as the highest level of education attained by the head of household increased. Where the head of household had an educational attainment of primary level or below, the median household disposable income was €24,196, compared with €58,714 for those with a third level degree or above.

The survey also provides insight into poverty in Ireland. The at risk of poverty rate is the share of persons whose equivalised income is less than 60% of the national median equivalised. The rate was 13.2% in 2020. See At Risk of Poverty Indicators Explained (PDF 717KB)  (Pdf).

Those most at risk of poverty in 2020 were individuals who were unable to work due to long-standing health problems (33.4%) and those who were unemployed (33.2%). This compares with a rate of 6.5% for those who described their principal economic status as ‘employed’.

In 2020, the at risk of poverty rate for those living in rented accommodation was 25.7%. If rent payments were deducted from income, this rate would have been 43.0%. For those living in dwellings owned with a mortgage (where the purpose of mortgage was for the purchase of the household’s main residence) the at risk of poverty rate increased from 5.4% to just 7.7% after deducting mortgage interest payments.

The consistent poverty rate, which includes those persons who are defined as being both at risk of poverty and who are also experiencing enforced deprivation, was 4.7% in 2020. By household composition, individuals living in households where there was one adult and one or more children aged under 18 had the highest consistent poverty rate at  19.3%. The consistent poverty rate was lowest for individuals living in households composed of two adults, with at least one aged 65 or over, and no children (0.4%).

The consistent poverty rate for those living in rented accommodation was 11.7%. The comparable rate for those living in owner-occupied accommodation was less than 1.6%.” 

Editor's Note:

In response to growing concerns related to community transmission of COVID-19, the CSO suspended all household survey fieldwork activities in mid-March 2020. SILC information before the onset of COVID-19 was collected from household members (16 years and older) by CSO interviewers, using Computer-Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) in the respondents' homes. In March 2020 the CSO developed a SILC data collection instrument suitable for conducting SILC interviews by telephone (Computer-Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI)). SILC data collection in 2020 therefore occurred before and after the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. Analysis of results by principal economic status of the respondent relates to the status of the respondent at the date of interview. This means that a SILC respondent interviewed before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis who described their principal economic status as ‘employed’ and subsequently lost their job because of the COVID-19 crisis, is reported as ‘employed’ in analysis by principal economic status.

The CSO would also like to highlight a break in the official SILC time series. This means that 2020 SILC results cannot be compared with results from previous rounds of the SILC. Please see Information note which describes the main sources of the break in SILC time series, which include changes to income definition, private household definition, income reference period, collection and processing methods and weighting and calibration methods.

Contact: Brian Cahill, ICW (087) 6280807 or Gerry Reilly, ICW (087) 2505165

For further information contact:

Eva O'Regan (+353) 21 453 5243 or Lianora Bermingham (+353) 21 453 5665

or email

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