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Equivalised Income

Equivalised Income

Increase in equivalised income in 2022

CSO statistical publication, , 11am

The income reference period of SILC in year T is the calendar year T-1, i.e. for SILC 2022 the income relates to Jan-Dec 2021.

Nominal Equivalised Income

nominal equivalised income of individuals in 2022
up from €25,264 in 2021
Source: CSO Ireland, Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2022

Equivalised income allows for a more meaningful comparison of income across households by accounting for the number of adults and children living in the household, thus allowing for analysis at an individualised level. However, when analysing by individual characteristics, it should be borne in mind that equivalised income is influenced by the income of all household members. At Risk of Poverty Indicators Explained (PDF 1,094KB) .

The median equivalised disposable income in SILC 2022 was €26,257, representing an increase of €993 (3.9%) from the previous year. The corresponding at risk of poverty threshold (i.e. 60% of the median) stood at €15,754 in SILC 2022, compared with €15,158 in SILC 2021. See table 3.1a.

Analysis by Principal Economic Status (PES) shows that persons that were unemployed had the lowest equivalised disposable income (€17,638) followed by persons unable to work due to long-standing health problems (€18,144). The comparable figure for employed persons was €30,760. See figure 3.1 and table 3.1a.

The largest year-on-year change in equivalised disposable income was seen in unemployed persons, which decreased by 9.8% to €17,638 when compared with SILC 2021, but returned closer to the SILC 2020 figure of €16,920. The Principal Economic Status is self-defined at the time of interview (first six months of 2022), whereas the income reference period is the 2021 calendar year, thus the two may not always perfectly align. The CSO’s Labour Force Survey Quarter 2 2022 showed that the number of unemployed persons decreased by -34.9% in the year to Q2 2022. Meanwhile, the CSO’s Social Protection Expenditure in Ireland 2021 showed that in 2021 there was a decrease in spending on the unemployment function (-€1.2bn on 2020), largely due to a reduction in PUP as public health restrictions were relaxed and people returned to work. In SILC 2022, almost 20% of respondents with a PES of ‘unemployed’ received COVID-19 income supports compared with just over 40% in SILC 2021. As fewer persons self-defined as unemployed in SILC 2022, those that remained unemployed were more likely to have been reliant on traditional unemployment income supports during the 2021 income refence year.


X-axis label202020212022
Unable to work
due to long-standing
health problems
Student, pupil211122287524926
Fulfilling domestic tasks188121965119703

Equivalised disposable income follows a general upward trajectory as the level of education increases. Individuals with the highest level of educational attainment of third level degree or higher had the highest median equivalised disposable income of the categories analysed in SILC 2022, at €34,467.  This compares with €17,937 for those with primary level education or lower. See figure 3.2 and table 3.1a.

X-axis label202220212020
Third level degree or higher344673333932337
Third level non-degree266462800826017
Post leaving certificate246772408522140
Upper secondary256642429222860
Lower secondary213382079019891
Primary or below179371790417540

Real equivalised income

Increase in equivalised income after adjusting for inflation

Using a base year of 2019 to adjust for inflation, the real median equivalised disposable income in 2022 was €25,741, an increase of 1.5% on the previous year. See table 3.1c and figure 3.3.

X-axis labelMedianMean

Distribution of income

Almost half of unemployed persons are in the lowest income quintile

Ranking persons from lowest equivalised disposable income to highest and dividing by five allows us to split the population into quintiles. 

Almost one in two unemployed people (49.5%) and those unable to work due to long-standing health problems (46.7%) are in the first equivalised disposable income quintile (i.e. the lowest 20% of the net disposable equivalised income distribution). This compares with one in ten (10.0%) of those that are employed. See figure 3.4 and table 3.2.

Quintile 5 Quintile 4 Quintile 3 Quintile 2 Quintile 1
Fulfilling domestic tasks7.89.920.325.536.4
Student, pupil13.917.425.623.119.9
Unable to work due to long-standing health problems4.311.913.323.946.7

Impact of social transfers on equivalised income

If income from social transfers was deducted from disposable income, the median equivalised disposable income would decrease from €26,257 to €21,642. See table 3.3a.

Composition of equivalised income

Persons in lower income deciles are most reliant on income from social transfers

In SILC 2022, the nominal mean weekly equivalised gross income was €827, an increase of 7.6% on the previous year. After deductions of €252, the nominal mean weekly equivalised disposable income was €574. See table 3.4a.

On average, equivalised market income amounted to €709 each week (85.7% of gross income), compared with €118 in social transfers (14.3% of gross income). See table 3.4a.

As was seen in the previous chapter for household income, the share of mean equivalised gross income coming from market income increases with each increasing income decile. See figure 3.5 and table 3.5.

X-axis labelTotal Social TransfersTotal Market Income
1st decile166.1775.68
2nd decile209.76126.84
3rd decile190.42224.45
4th decile125.15383.94
5th decile112.75513.21
6th decile103.92617.96
7th decile88.96769.42
8th decile68.11960.91
9th decile60.281206.07
10th decile53.482206.54

Equivalised Income Tables 3.1 to 3.5

Table 3.1a Median equivalised nominal disposable income by demographic characteristics and year

Table 3.1b Mean equivalised nominal disposable income by demographic characteristics and year

Table 3.1c Median equivalised real disposable income by demographic characteristics and year

Table 3.1d Mean equivalised real disposable income by demographic characteristics and year

Table 3.2 Demographic characteristics of individuals by net disposable equivalised income deciles, 2022

Table 3.3a Nominal median income measures by year

Table 3.3b Nominal mean income measures by year

Table 3.4a Composition of nominal equivalised income by year

Table 3.4b Composition of real equivalised income by year

Table 3.5 Average weekly equivalised income by net disposable equivalised income deciles and composition of net equivalised disposable income, 2022