Childhood deprivation in Ireland

Over a quarter of children aged 2 to 15 in Ireland are experiencing deprivation, according to the results of new research on childhood deprivation, Understanding Childhood Deprivation in Ireland, published jointly by the Irish government and the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin. The report is based on the national Survey of Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2009 of 1,800 households with children.

Key findings

  • Children are over-represented in the lower half of the income distribution. As a result they have a higher rate of income poverty than adults, and this pattern has persisted from 2004 to 2010. The at-risk-of-poverty rate is higher for children in the youngest age group.
  • Child-specific deprivation has a stronger relationship to basic deprivation than to the other dimensions of deprivation or to income poverty. (Basic deprivation is defined as lacking at least two out eleven items relating to food, clothing, furniture, debt and minimal participation in social life.)
  • Whereas just over half of those exposed to child-specific deprivation are not captured by the at-risk-of-poverty measure, eight out of ten of this group are picked up by the ‘economic vulnerability’ measure. (Economic vulnerability is intended to identify those at risk of poverty, deprivation and economic stress, even if not currently poor or deprived.)
  • There are a number of implications for policy on social inclusion and the well-being of children. Failure to address child poverty is likely to lead to large costs in the future, associated with poorer health, lower educational achievement and welfare dependence.

The full report (Dorothy Watson, Bertrand Maître and Christopher Whelan, Understanding Childhood Deprivation in Ireland) is available on the Economic and Social Research Institute website. A launch presentation and a press release are also available.