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Background Notes and Methodology

Background Notes and Methodology

Online ISSN: 2811-5724
CSO statistical publication, , 11am


This years' publication has been renamed from National Income and Expenditure (NIE) to Annual National Accounts (ANA). This is to reflect the additional data and development of the annual output method, which complements our income and expenditure data. We have also grouped the material to present it under each method of compilation, e.g. showing the wages and profits data under the income method. Another development this year is a permanent link on PxStat (for direct links to PxStat tables see the Data chapter) to the latest annual national accounts data, rather than renaming PxStat tables each year.

This publication contains the first detailed results of the main National Accounts aggregates and their components for 2021. It includes revisions for all years from 2015 to 2020. The estimates for the most recent years, especially 2021, are based on provisional indicators for the different aggregates and are subject to revision. (A preliminary estimate of the 2021 outturn was already provided in the quarterly accounts release for Q4).

National accounts are compiled in the EU according to the European System of National and Regional Accounts (ESA) framework. ESA 2010 is the European version of the current UN mandated international standards for national accounts statistics, the System of National Accounts (SNA) 2008. The results for all years in this release are published on an ESA 2010 basis.

Nace Classification

In compliance with EU regulations the NACE Rev. 2 classification system is used in Tables 3.3, 3.4, 3.6, 6.1 and 6.2. This change was introduced in the National Income and Expenditure 2011 release. The NACE Rev. 2 replaces the national classification system which was used up to NIE10.

Tables 3.3, 3.4, 3.6, 6.1 and 6.2 show a full A10 breakdown which replaces the five sectors used up to NIE2015. The correspondence with the relevant sections of NACE Rev.2 is as follows: 

Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing Section A
Industry (excluding Construction) Sections B,C,D,E
of which: Manufacturing Section C 
Construction Section F
Distribution, Transport, Hotels & Restaurants Sections G,H,I
Information & Communication Section J
Financial & Insurance Activities Section K
Real Estate Activities Section L
Professional, Admin & Support Services Sections M,N
Public Admin, Education & Health Sections O,P,Q
Arts, Entertainment & Other Services Sections R,S,T

A more detailed description of the Irish national accounts methodology is available at The CSO Standard Classification of Industrial Activity is NACE


In Ireland, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current prices is calculated using two approaches viz. the income and expenditure approaches. The main components of the income estimate are (1) profits of companies and of the self-employed, (2) remuneration of employees (wages, salaries, pensions and employers’ contributions to social insurance), and (3) rent of dwellings (imputed in the case of owner-occupied). Adjustments are made in respect of stock appreciation (to eliminate the effect of price changes on the level of stocks). On the expenditure side estimates are made of personal expenditure on consumers’ goods and services, expenditure by public authorities on current goods and services, gross domestic fixed capital formation, and the value of physical changes in stocks. The value of exports is then added and imports are deducted.

The two approaches (income and expenditure) should theoretically give the same answer. However, they will always diverge to some extent as they are measured using different data sources. The components of the two original estimates are shown unadjusted. The official level of GDP is taken to be an average of the expenditure and income estimates and a balancing item is displayed which is half of the difference between the two estimates. This is the amount by which both estimates have to be adjusted to agree with the official level of GDP.


At constant prices, two measures (output and expenditure) are used. These measures are being produced using annual chain linked indices. On the output side, for each pair of successive years, the volume growth measures at a detailed level are weighted together using value added weights of the first year. Similarly, on the expenditure side, annual growth estimates are weighted by previous year expenditure weights. The average of the two measures is the official growth measure used. The change over a period of years is then calculated by linking together the annual changes. The estimates in this release are referenced to 2020 values.

The estimates in this release are based on more detailed and more recent data than that available at the time of publishing the quarterly estimates for 2021. In particular, they incorporate revisions to the International Accounts figures for recent years and revised unit value indices for merchandise trade.


The revenue from the margin on lending and borrowing by financial intermediaries (mostly banks) is called financial intermediation services indirectly measured (FISIM). This margin is taken as the output of non-invoiced services produced by these financial intermediaries and has been included in the calculation of GDP since the publication of the 2004 annual results and the Q1 2005 quarterly results in July 2005.

The CSO has changed the methodology used to calculate FISIM to bring it into line with the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010) standards. A more detailed description of this new methodology is available at: The Impact of Financial Intermediation Services Indirectly Measured (FISIM) on the National Accounts (PDF 537KB)

Quarterly Accounts

A quarterly national accounts publication incorporating these latest annual results for the four quarters of 2021 and earlier years is also being published today. This includes an estimate for the first quarter of 2022. The previously published estimates for the quarters of earlier years are also revised.


Gross Value Added at factor cost

is equal to the sum of the values of the goods and services (or parts thereof) produced in the country without deducting an amount in respect of capital consumption (i.e. depreciation). It excludes taxes on production and includes subsidies on production.

Net Value added at factor cost

is equal to Gross Value Added at factor cost minus depreciation.

Gross Domestic Product at market prices

is equal to Gross Value Added at factor cost plus taxes on production less subsidies on production. It represents total expenditure on the output of goods and services produced in the country and valued at the prices at which the expenditure is incurred.

Gross National Product at market prices

is equal to Gross Domestic Product at market prices plus net factor income from the rest of the world and represents the total of all payments for productive services accruing to the permanent residents of the country. Some income accrues to Irish residents as a result of economic activity abroad or property held abroad while some income arising in the state is paid to non-residents.

Gross National Income at market prices

is equal to Gross National Product at market prices plus EU subsidies less EU taxes. This is more commonly described as being equal to Gross Domestic Product plus net primary incomes from abroad.

Modified Gross National Income at market prices (GNI*)

is equal to Gross National Income at market prices less the factor income of redomiciled companies, less depreciation on R&D service imports and trade in IP and less depreciation on aircraft related to aircraft leasing.

Net National Income at market prices (NNI)

is equal to Gross National Income at market prices less (total economy) provision for depreciation.

Detailed Methodology

For more detailed methodology on the compilation and development of the Annual National Accounts publication and tables see: Annual National Accounts Methodology