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What is the CPI?

The Consumer Price Index or CPI measures the overall change in the prices of goods and services that people typically buy over time. It does this by collecting approximately 53,000 prices every month and comparing these to the corresponding prices from the previous month.

As everyone has differing tastes and spending habits, the CPI measures prices for a huge assortment of items. Not only does the CPI measure price changes for goods but also for services e.g. hairdressing, taxi fares, insurance etc. This collection of items is normally referred to as the basket of goods and services.

The basket does not apply to any particular person or family but represents an average household in Ireland. The goods and services that are included in the basket are determined from the Household Budget Survey (HBS), which is conducted every five years. The relative importance or weights (the greater the importance, the greater the weight) of these goods and services are also decided from information collected in the Household Budget Survey.

The expenditure of foreign tourists on holiday in Ireland and the expenditure of institutional households are also included in the index since January 2002 and January 2013 respectively.

Who uses the CPI?

The CPI results are used by:

  • Irish government departments
  • the European Union
  • all macro-economists
  • all researchers with an interest in economic trends
  • other special interest groups.

The details given in the survey are strictly confidential. This is guaranteed by law, under the Statistics Act, 1993.
Individual details cannot be given in an identifiable form to any other person or organisation.