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Household Saving Q4 2022

Households saving remained high through to the end of 2022

CSO statistical publication, , 11am

Key Findings

  • The Households Saving Rate was 20% in Q4 2022 as Irish people continued the higher rate of saving begun during the pandemic.

  • In Q4 2022, before adjusting for seasonality or inflation, households saved €3.9bn.

  • The Total Disposable Income of households in real terms was largely unchanged in the quarter, as inflation eroded higher income from employment and social protection.

  • Household consumption grew. This was partly due to high inflation, but also because more goods and services were used, particularly in the hospitality sector.

Statistician's Comment

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (09 March 2022) released Household Saving Q4 2022.

Commenting on the results, Peter Culhane, Statistician in the National Accounts Analysis & Globalisation Division, said: "Irish households built up a lot of savings over COVID-19 and they are not winding them down. The saving rate was 20% in October, November, and December (Q4) of 2022. This means that  far from making up for missed opportunities to spend, households are now saving more than they did before the pandemic. We note that over the last seven quarters, the savings rate has been around 20%.

Income and Consumption

We can see from other CSO data that the wage bill is increasing because pay rates are going up and there are more people in employment than ever before. Households also received additional supports from government in response to inflation. So nominal (current price) household income rose. However, when we take inflation into account, household income was really only standing still. Consumer prices rose as fast as incomes so real (constant prices) Total Disposable Income was largely unchanged over the third quarter in 2022. 

Consumption rose in the October to December 2022 period, not just due to higher prices, nor to seasonal spending. A slightly greater volume of goods (seasonally adjusted and price adjusted) and services were bought in the period, and our surveys of retail and other services show volume growth in bars and restaurants in the last quarter of 2022. Consumer spending was still below its 2019 level.

While costs increased due to high inflation, household incomes kept pace in the quarter, and households slowly increased their post-pandemic spending while maintaining a high level of saving.

Figure 1: Household Total Disposable Income (Constant Price, Seasonally Adjusted) €million

Real Total Disposable Income (TDI) is estimated by first deflating the current price estimate of TDI. The deflator used is the implicit deflator of household consumption: that is, the ratio of current price to constant price Individual Consumption Expenditure (P.31). This price-adjusted TDI is then seasonally adjusted using an X-13 model, the model used for seasonal adjustment in the rest of the accounts.


Total Disposable Income (TDI) of households falls in the last quarter of every year, mainly because income taxes are paid at the end of the year. When we adjust for such usual seasonal factors, before price adjustment (so not taking account of inflation), there was a slight increase in TDI in Q4 2022.

Pay to workers  at current prices increased by 1.6% this quarter compared to the third quarter of 2022. The largest increase in growth quarter-on-quarter can be seen in Public Administration, Education & Health. Figure 2 illustrates the changes by economic sector in the quarter after adjusting for seasonal factors. Higher compensation of employees was owing to a combination of higher average weekly pay (seasonally adjusted) and more people in work .

As well as wages, Total Disposable Income also includes other income such as self-employed earnings, interest and dividends received and social benefits (such as Child Benefit), but is after deduction of income taxes, social contributions (such as PRSI) and interest paid. More detail will be published in the Institutional Sector Accounts next month. 

sectorChange (Seasonally Adjusted) since Q3-2022 €m
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing3.26372699932026
Industry (excl. Construction)29.8420581625505
Distribution, Transport, Hotels and Restaurants-43.5077149602739
Information and Communication65.6443036380192
Financial and Insurance Activities15.3598264037209
Real Estate Activities0.224508202424715
Professional, Admin and Support Services38.4564338497676
Public Admin, Education and Health365.241245077412
Arts, Entertainment and Other Services13.5749103734491

Prices and Consumption

In December, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed a three-month rise of 1.8%. The costs of Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas & Other Fuels were again a major contributor to the overall increase in the cost of living.

There is always a rise in spending in the last quarter of the year due largely to celebrations around Christmas. In Q4 2022 there was also higher spending due to inflation: the same goods and services cost more than in the previous period. However, even after adjusting for this usual seasonal pattern and for inflation, there was higher consumption in the October to December period (Q4) 2022 than in the July-September period (Q3). As well as spending more to get the same goods and services as usual, households consumed a higher volume of goods and services. The Retail Sales Index shows highest volume increases in Textiles, Clothing & Footwear and Books, Newspapers & Stationery. There was also a significant increase in sales in Bars. The Services Index showed growth in Food Service (restaurants) as well as Other Services (which includes consumer-facing services such as Gambling).

Figure 3: Household Individual Consumption Expenditure €million


Saving is the difference between income and consumption, and the derived Saving Ratio is the saving divided by the income. Saving is given in current prices and shown seasonally adjusted in Figure 4. The saving ratio was 20% this quarter, and it has been around the same level for seven quarters now. The saving ratio shows a very slowly declining trend since COVID-19 restrictions started easing.

Household saving is added to wealth either as real assets (such as new homes), or financial assets (such as deposits), or as paying off liabilities (such as mortgage debt). In the last quarter of 2022, before adjusting for seasonality or inflation, households saved €3.9bn. Then, investment in dwellings and improvements (most of which is by households) was €3.2bn. Figures from the Central Bank of Ireland show that households added €1.0bn to their deposits in banks. They then borrowed €0.4bn more loan capital than they repaid in the quarter. Changes in dwellings, deposits and loans therefore account for most of the saving; while pension funds, and other investments also absorbed some of variation in saving.

Figure 4: Household Saving Rate (Seasonally Adjusted) %
Table 1: Household Saving Rate Seasonally Adjusted 2022Q4 (€million)
Table 2: Household Saving Rate Unadjusted 2022Q4 (€million)
Table 3: Real (Constant Price) Income and Expenditure of Households (€million)