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Income and Living Conditions

The CSO's survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) in Ireland is a household survey covering a broad range of issues in relation to income and living conditions. It is the official source of data on household and individual income and provides a number of key national poverty indicators, such as the at risk of poverty rate and the consistent poverty rate. This report (Urban and Rural Life in Ireland 2019) takes some of the results from SILC 2017 and presents them reclassified by the six experimental urban/rural area types.

In 2017, the nominal median annual equivalised disposable income (see 'Appendix 2: Definition and Notes' for details) in the State was €20,869, while 'Cities' had the highest at €23,497 and 'Independent urban towns' had the lowest at €17,433, see Table 4.1 and Figure 4.1.

The deprivation rate and deprivation rate for those at risk of poverty are highest for 'Independent urban towns' at 24.2% and 53.3% respectively.

Show Table: 4.1 Summary of main results on Income and Living Conditions by area type, 2017

Median equivalised disposable income
State20869
Cities23497
Satellite urban towns21481
Independent urban towns17433
Rural areas with high urban influence22127
Rural areas with moderate urban influence18573
Highly rural/remote areas18366

Household income highest in cities and lowest in the most rural areas

'Cities' had the highest median household disposable income of the six classified areas in 2017 at €46,458 while 'Satellite urban towns' had the second highest at €42,709. 'Rural areas with high urban influence' were the third largest at €42,176 and 1.2 times the median household income in 'Independent urban towns' (€34,626).

Using the same household income measure, income in 'Cities' was 34.2% higher than in 'Highly rural/remotes areas' (€29,424). See Table 4.2.

Show Table: 4.2 Household disposable income by area type, 2017

MedianMean
Cities4645855498
Satellite urban towns4270953160
Independent urban towns3462639869
Rural areas with high urban influence4217650348
Rural areas with moderate urban influence3219640425
Highly rural/remote areas2942435701

Equivalised income in 'Independent urban towns' lower than most rural areas

Equivalised disposable income was €17,433 in 'Independent urban towns' in 2017, the lowest among the six geographical defined areas.

A similar picture can also be noted for equivalised disposable income including old-age and survivors' benefits, but excluding all other social transfers, where 'Independent urban towns' have the lowest income at €13,738 (the State average in 2017 was €18,182). Based on the six way area classification, there was an exception to the above noted trend and this was when equivalised disposable income excluding all social transfers is considered. In this instance 'Independent Urban towns' had an income of €11,346 compared to the lower €9,913 in 'Highly rural/remote areas' (the State median was €15,162). See Table 4.3.

Show Table: 4.3 Median income measures by area type, 2017

Average household weekly income composition

Households in 'Cities' had the largest average weekly gross income in 2017 (direct income plus social transfers e.g. unemployment related payments, occupational pension) at €1,454.8. The State average was €1,207.8. Among the six geographical area types, households in 'Cities' also had the lowest average weekly social transfers (at €249.7, compared to the State average €261.7) and the highest tax and social insurance contributions (at €391.2, compared to the State average €278.8).

In 2017, households in 'Cities' had the largest average weekly net disposable income at €1,063.6, followed by 'Satellite urban towns' (€1,018.8) and 'Rural areas with high urban influence' (€964.9). 'Highly rural/remote areas' had the lowest at €684.2. See Table 4.4.

Show Table: 4.4 Composition of real household income and real equivalised income by area type, 2017

Direct incomeSocial transfersTax and Social contributionsNet disposable income
Cities1205249.7-391.21063.6
Satellite urban towns1095.9254.2-331.31018.8
Independent urban towns664.9271.3-172764.1
Rural areas with high urban influence954.9269-259964.9
Rural areas with moderate urban influence673271.9-170.2774.7
Highly rural/remote areas514.3282.7-112.8684.2

Poverty

In 2017, among the six way urban/rural classification, the at risk of poverty rate, was highest in 'Highly rural/remote areas' at 19.3% (of individuals) while lowest in 'Cities' at 12.8%. The State equivalent rate was 15.7%.

An analysis of consistent poverty rates (as a percentage of individuals) shows that 'Independent urban towns' have the highest rate at 9.4% compared to 'Rural areas with high urban influence' at 5.2% (the lowest among the six area types). The consistent poverty rate for the State in 2017 was 6.7%. See Table 4.5 and Figure 4.5.

Show Table: 4.5 Key national indicators of poverty and social exclusion by area type, 2017

At risk of poverty rateConsistent Poverty rate
State15.76.7
Cities12.86.2
Satellite urban towns15.37.2
Independent urban towns17.69.4
Rural areas with high urban influence17.55.2
Rural areas with moderate urban influence16.95.7
Highly rural/remote areas19.37.1
Show Table: 4.6 Profile of population at risk of poverty and in consistent poverty by demographic characteristics and year

'Independent urban towns' had highest proportion of households where working age social welfare was majority of income

While the previous sections report on the CSO's 2017 survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC), the following analysis is based on the integration of administrative data including the 2016 Census, see CSO report Geographical Profiles of Income in Ireland 2016 for more information.  

This analysis showed that in 2016 the proportion of households in the State where working age social welfare was the majority income was 13.7%. It was highest in 'Independent urban towns' at 21.0% and lowest in 'Rural areas with high urban influence' at 8.6% of households, see Table 4.7 and Figure 4.5. Note that a household where over half of its gross income came from working age social welfare (excluding child benefits and state pension) was considered majority of income.

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Proportion of households in the area
State13.7
Cities12.6
Satellite urban towns11.8
Independent urban towns21
Rural areas with high urban influence8.6
Rural areas with moderate urban influence12.1
Highly rural/remote areas17.3
Show Table: 4.7 Proportion of households where working age social welfare was the majority income by area, 2016

Proportions of earnings from NACE sector by area type

The 'Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community', a classification system grouping business and organisations according to their activities, is commonly referred to as NACE. For this release the NACE sectors were combined into 7 major sectors. See Figure 4.6 and Table 4.8.

Proportion of earned income from Public service, Education and Health sectors highest in all rural and urban areas

In 2016, the proportion of earned income from Public Service, Education and Health ranged from 27.3% in 'Satellite urban towns' to 33.7% in 'Highly remote/rural areas.' This was the largest sector in all six urban/rural area types. Around 3 euros in every 10 was earned in this sector (29.6%) in the State.

'Cities' second largest proportion of income earned from ICT, Scientific and Recreation 

Just over 2 euros in every 10 earned in 'Cities' came from the ICT, Scientific and Recreation sector (at 22.0%) and the highest among the six areas, while the State average was 15.9%. 

For the remaining areas the second largest sector was Wholesale, Transport and Accommodation, ranging from 18.2% in 'Rural areas with moderate urban influence' to 23.0% in 'Independent urban towns.'

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing more prevalent in rural areas

While the proportion of income from Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing is minimal in 'Cities' (0.1%) and urban areas in general, it was 8.5% in 'Highly rural/remote areas' (8.5%) and 8.3% in 'Rural areas with moderate urban influence'. 

Proportion of income from Industry sector higher in rural areas and 'Independent urban towns'

The proportion of income from the Industry sector was lowest in 'Cities’ (8.3%) and ‘Satellite urban towns’ (12.1%), while in the remaining areas it ranged between 14.8% in 'Highly rural/remote areas' to 15.6% in 'Independent urban towns'. 

Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing (A)Industry (B,C,D,E)Construction (F)Wholesale, Transport & Accommodation (G,H,I)ICT, Scientific & Recreation (J,M,R)Financial, Real Estate, Administrative & Services (K,L,N,S)Public Service, Education & Health (O,P,Q)
State2.612.24.619.415.915.829.6
Cities0.18.33182220.228.3
Satellite urban towns0.412.14.22216.417.527.3
Independent urban towns1.115.64.5239.912.633.3
Rural areas with high urban influence5.115.25.918.711.912.231.1
Rural areas with moderate urban influence8.315.36.418.28.610.133.1
Highly rural/remote areas8.514.86.819.37.79.233.7
Show Table: 4.8 Proportion of earned income from NACE sectors by area type, 2016

NACE income streams of farmers

Agriculture is an important part of rural life. While examining the proportion of earned income from NACE sectors by area type in 2016 (as per previous section) this report also took the opportunity to examine earned income streams of farmers by the six area types to provide more insight into farming life today. Analysis of the NACE sector earnings of persons who identified themselves as employed farmers in the 2016 Census showed that in the State around 1 in 4 (25.6%) working farmers had an income stream from an industry sector other than farming (including forestry and fishing). A larger proportion of farmers had a non-farming income stream in urban areas (32.0%-35.5%) compared to rural areas (24.6%-26.3%), see Table 4.9 and Figure 4.7.

% of working farmers with income streams other than agriculture
State25.6
Cities35.5
Satellite urban towns32
Independent urban towns34.6
Rural areas with high urban influence24.6
Rural areas with moderate urban influence24.8
Highly rural/remote areas26.3
Show Table: 4.9 Proportion of working farmers with income streams other than agriculture, 2016

'Cities' have highest number of persons in employment

The results of the CSO's Labour Force Survey (LFS) provide the basis for the official series of quarterly labour force estimates, including unemployment rates. The six way urban/rural classification have been applied to the survey results for the quarters Q1 2018 to Q1 2019, producing the following. The number of people at work in the State increased from 2,220,700 in Q1 2018 to 2,301,900 in Q1 2019, an increase of 81,200 (or 3.7%). Among the six different area types, the largest percentage increase in the number of people in employment between Q1 2018 and Q1 2019 was in ' Satellite urban towns' (+ 8.5% or 25,900 workers) while the number of persons in employment in 'Independent urban towns' was virtually unchanged. See Figure 4.8 and Table 4.10.

Show Table: 4.10 Number of persons age 15+ in employment classified by area, employment, unemployment, labour force and not in labour force and survey quarter

Q1 2018Q1 2019
Cities830300855900
Satellite urban towns305400331300
Independent urban towns335400336300
Rural areas with high urban influence349200366700
Rural areas with moderate urban influence250300256400
Highly rural/remote areas149200154500

Unemployment rate highest in 'Independent urban towns' 

The unemployment rate of the State in Q1 2019 was 4.7% (a decrease of 0.9 points from 5.6% in Q1 2008). As with the State overall, the unemployment rate fell across all six area classifications compared with the same quarter in the previous year. 'Independent urban towns' recorded the biggest fall in unemployment rates over the year, from 8.3% in Q1 2018 to 6.3% in Q1 2019 (decrease of 2.0 points over the year) and also had the highest unemployment rate in Q1 2019 among the six area classifications.

The area classification with the lowest unemployment rate in Q1 2019 was 'Rural areas with high urban influences' at 4.0%, which was down slightly on the previous year, see Figure 4.9.

Q1 2018Q1 2019
State5.64.7
Cities5.44.2
Satellite urban towns5.95.8
Independent urban towns8.36.3
Rural areas with high urban influence4.14
Rural areas with moderate urban influence4.34.2
Highly rural/remote areas6.14.7

Participation rate highest in 'Satellite urban towns' and lowest in 'Highly rural/remote areas'

The Participation Rate is the number of persons aged 15 and over in the labour force expressed as a percentage of the total population aged 15 or over. In Q1 2019 the participation rate for the State was 62.0%, up from 61.6% a year previously. See Figure 4.10.

'Satellite urban towns' had the highest participation rate in Q1 2019 at 64.9% (increase of 1.2 points on Q1 2018), followed by 'Cities' at 64.3% (stable over the year) and 'Rural areas with high urban influence' at 64.0% (+2.2 points). 'Rural areas with moderate urban influence' participation rate was at 59.7% (+1.2), 'Independent urban towns at 57.6% (-1.7 points and the only percentage to fall compared to the previous year) and the lowest was 54.9% in 'Highly rural/remote areas' (remained stable over the year).

Q1 2018Q1 2019
State61.662
Cities64.264.3
Satellite urban towns63.764.9
Independent urban towns59.357.6
Rural areas with high urban influence61.864
Rural areas with moderate urban influence58.559.7
Highly rural/remote areas54.554.9

Higher proportion of persons in 'Highly rural/remote' areas work part time

In Q1 2019, part-time workers account for 20.5% of all workers in the State. 'Highly rural/remote areas' had the highest proportion of part time-workers at 23.8% followed by 'Satellite urban towns' (21.8%) and 'Independent urban towns' (21.0%). In all 20.5% (same as the State average) of all persons in employment worked part-time in 'Rural areas with high urban influence', while in 'Cities' it was 19.6% (and also the lowest among the six areas). See Figure 4.11 and Table 4.11

Full timePart time
State79.520.5
Cities80.419.6
Satellite urban towns78.221.8
Independent urban towns7921
Rural areas with high urban influence79.520.5
Rural areas with moderate urban influence80.119.9
Highly rural/remote areas76.323.8
Show Table: 4.11 Number of persons age 15+ in employment classified by full-time and part-time, area and Survey Quarter

Self-employment more prevalent in rural areas

A higher number of persons were self-employed in the combined rural areas (170,300) compared to the combined urban areas (153,400), see Table 4.12. In Q1 2019 'Rural areas with moderate urban influence' had the highest proportion of self-employed among persons in employment at 24.3%, while 'Cities' had the lowest at 9.7%, see Figure 4.15.

Proportion of persons in employment who are self-employed
State14.1
Cities9.7
Satellite urban towns10.4
Independent urban towns10.8
Rural areas with high urban influence19.4
Rural areas with moderate urban influence24.3
Highly rural/remote areas23.8
Show Table: 4.12 Number of persons age 15+ self-employed by area and Survey Quarter

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