Welcome to the 2013 edition of Measuring Ireland’s Progress and the second edition designed for mobile devices and the web. The CSO started a program of publishing releases in this way at the start of 2013 and now almost all of our releases are being published for the web. The 2012 edition of Measuring Ireland’s Progress was the first publication to be published this way, (in January 2014), and we would welcome feedback, both in terms of the content and the layout, as an input into the further development of Measuring Ireland’s Progress.
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 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. In June 2012 the CSO launched a new web-based report which brought together national data on 27 key short-term economic indicators in a timely and accessible way.
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 are also actively involved in measuring well-being and progress through their OECD Better Life Initiative and their work programme on measuring progress.
The social partnership agreement 2003-2005 requested the CSO to support a move towards more evidence-based policy-making by developing a set of national progress indicators. A preliminary set of national progress indicators, Measuring Ireland’s Progress, was published in December 2003. Since then the CSO has published Measuring Ireland’s Progress annually and this report is the eleventh in the series.
This web-based edition of Measuring Ireland’s Progress is organised so that fifty eight indicators are presented in five themes:
Employment and unemployment
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 two countries (Macedonia and Turkey) who were official EU candidate countries in 2013. 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.
Ireland had the smallest increase in inflation in the EU between 2009 and 2013 but prices remain high by EU standards. Ireland was the fifth most expensive EU state in 2013, after Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Luxembourg with prices 20% above the EU average. However this represents an improvement on 2009 when price levels in Ireland were the second highest in the EU at 26% above the EU average.
GDP rose slightly by 0.2% in 2013 while the public balance deficit, at 5.7% of GDP, was the fifth largest in the EU but a big improvement on 2010 when it was 32.4%. Government debt continued to rise in 2013 to 123.3% of GDP, the fourth highest debt/GDP ratio in the EU, having been 62.2% in 2009. The number of dwelling units built was just 8,300 in 2013, (below the number built in 1970), having peaked at almost 90,000 in 2006. Employment in Ireland was the tenth lowest in the EU in 2013 while unemployment was the seventh highest in the EU.
Ireland has the highest fertility rate in the EU, at 2.01, and the lowest divorce rate, at 0.6 per 1,000 population. Ireland has the highest proportion of young people and the second lowest proportion of old people in the EU, while the Irish population is increasing at the third highest rate in the EU. Average class size at primary level in Ireland was the second highest in the EU and the proportion of the population aged 25-34 that had completed third-level education was the third highest in the EU.
The number of kidnapping and related offences increased by 57% between 2008 and 2013 in Ireland while the number of sexual offences rose by 43% over the same time period. However there were decreases in public order and other social code offences, (down by 41%), and in controlled drug offences, (down by a third).
Economy: The GDP growth rate was 0.2% in 2013. The public balance deficit was 5.7% of GDP, the fifth largest in the EU but a big improvement on 2010 when it was 32.4%. Government debt continued to rise in 2013 to 123.3% of GDP, the fourth highest debt/GDP ratio in the EU, having been 62.2% just four years previously in 2009. Nonetheless, in 2013 Ireland had the fifth highest GDP per capita in the EU at 26% above the EU average, although, based on GNI, Ireland was the tenth highest at 7% above the EU average. Ireland’s gross fixed capital formation was 15% of GDP in 2013, the fourth lowest rate in the EU. The productivity of the Irish workforce in 2013, measured by GDP per person employed, was 36% higher than the EU average and was the second highest in the EU. As Irish employees work longer hours, the productivity per hour worked is relatively lower, but was still 22% above the EU average and the seventh highest in the EU. (Tables 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.8 and 2.15)
Prices: Ireland had the smallest increase in inflation in the EU between 2009 and 2013, (as measured by the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices). Ireland had the fifth highest price levels in the EU in 2013 with prices 20% above the EU average and only Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Luxembourg were more expensive. However this is an improvement on 2009 when price levels in Ireland were 26% above the EU average and were the second highest in the EU. (Tables 2.12 and 2.13)
Employment and unemployment: The employment rate (for those aged 15-64) in Ireland rose from 65.9% in 2004 to 69.1% in 2007, but fell to 58.8% by 2012. However the employment rate increased slightly in 2014 to 61.3%. The male employment rate was stable over the 2004 to 2008 period at about 76% but fell sharply over the next three years to 62.4% in 2012 before increasing to 66.3% in 2014. The female employment rate increased from 56.1% in 2004 to 60.6% in 2007 before falling to 55.2% in 2012 and increasing slightly to 56.4% in 2014. In 2013, Ireland’s employment rate was the tenth lowest in the EU, and its unemployment rate was the seventh highest rate in the EU. (Graph 2.14 and table 2.16)
Social cohesion: The at risk of poverty rate in Ireland was 15.7% in 2012 which was below the EU rate of 16.9%. In 2013, 8.2% of the population were in consistent poverty. This was an increase on the level recorded in 2012, when 7.7% of the population was living in consistent poverty. Ireland’s net official development assistance was 0.43% of GNI in 2013, the eighth highest rate in the EU, but below the UN 2007 target of 0.7%. (Tables 1.8, 1.10 and 1.13)
Education: Real expenditure per student in Ireland increased over the period 2004-2013 by 10% at primary level and by 6% at second level. However there was a decrease of a fifth at third level over the same time period. In 2013 nearly half (48.5%) 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 2013, when 8% of the Irish population aged 18-24 left school with at most lower secondary education, compared to the EU average of 12%. Average class size at primary level in Ireland in 2012 was 24.4, the second highest in the EU. (Tables 4.1, 4.5, 4.6 and 4.8)
Health: Current public expenditure on health care in Ireland averaged €2,973 per person in 2013 (at constant 2012 prices), an increase of 7% on 2004. Life expectancy at birth in Ireland in 2012, as calculated by Eurostat, is 83.2 years for females, just above the EU average of 83.1 years. The male life expectancy at birth in Ireland was 78.7 years, just over one year above the EU average. A 65-year old man in Ireland can now expect to live a further 16.6 years, while a 65-year old woman can expect to live 19.8 years. (Tables 5.1, 5.3 and 5.4)
Population: Ireland had the third highest percentage increase in population between 2003 and 2013 in the EU. Ireland had the highest fertility rate in the EU in 2012 at 2.01; the EU average was much lower at 1.58. Just over a third (35%) of all Irish births in 2012 were outside marriage, which was the ninth lowest rate in the EU. The divorce rate in Ireland was 0.6 divorces per 1,000 population in 2012, the lowest rate in the EU. In 2013, 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 an age dependency ratio that was similar to the EU average. (Tables 1.2, 1.5, 1.6 and 1.7)
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 just 8,300 in 2013, below the level in 1970. The average value of a housing loan in Ireland rose from €171,500 in 2004 to €270,200 in 2008 before dropping by over a third to €174,000 in 2013. (Graph 2.19 and table 2.20)
Crime: The number of kidnapping and related offences increased by 57% between 2008 and 2013, while the number of sexual offences rose by 43% over the same time period and the number of robbery, extortion and hijacking offences increased by 22%. However the number of public order and other social code offences fell by 41% over the same time period, while there was a drop of over a third in offences involving damage to property and the environment and in controlled drug offences. (Table 1.15)
Environment: Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions were at 107% of 1990 levels in 2012. This was 5.3% lower than the Kyoto 2008-2012 target for Ireland. Total greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland fell by nearly 15% between 2003 and 2012, from 68.5 million tonnes of CO2 to 58.5 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 only 0.5% in Germany, where recycling and incineration rates are high, to over 80% in Latvia. (Tables 3.1, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6 and 3.7)
In some tables, both GDP and GNI data have been given for Ireland because Ireland, along with Luxembourg, are exceptions in the EU with a wide divergence between GDP and GNI. Wherever possible, international tables include the total for all 28 EU member states. The abbreviation "EU" is used in this publication to indicate data for all 28 EU member states. The national and international data sources are given for each indicator. Most of the national data are compiled by the CSO. In some cases, the survey name more widely used at EU level is quoted. For example, the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) is referred to as the EU Labour Force Survey (LFS).
QNHS results for all years in this report are presented for Q2 (quarter two).
The figures in the tables and graphs reflect the data available as of the end of 2014.
The following symbol is used:
: data not available.