New figures from the CSO show that the percentage of people aged 65 and over at risk of poverty has almost doubled in two years, increasing from 9.8% in 2020 to 19% in 2022.
In the same age category, those living in consistent poverty, while a small percentage of the group, also sharply increased from 1% to 3.3%.
Across all ages, the number of people at risk of poverty rose by some 76,000 in 2022, driven by that increase amongst elderly people experiencing poverty.
The at risk of poverty rate was 13.1% in the survey, up from 11.6% in 2021, but if COVID-19 income supports were excluded, the at risk of poverty rate would have been 20.5% in 2022, the research found.
The latest Survey on Income and Living Conditions from the Central Statistics Office sampled 4,600 households and almost 11,400 individuals, and results would equate to about 671,000 people at risk of poverty in 2022, an increase from an estimated 595,000 the previous year.
Being at risk of poverty is defined as earning €15,000 or less by the CSO.
When adjusted for inflation, real household income fell by €551 in 2022, with the median household disposable income before that adjustment increasing by €528 to €46,999 in the year.
Deprivation is defined by the CSO as being unable to afford two or more items from 11 sample items such as being unable to afford heating or a warm coat. The CSO found that between 2020 and 2022, the overall deprivation rate for the general population in Ireland increased from 14.3% to 17.7%,
Deprivation affected 12.7% of people who were employed – and some 49% of people who are unemployed, while people categorised as unable to work due to long-standing health problems was at 44% for 2022.
The CSO survey also found that the quintile share ratio stood at 4.0, compared with 3.8 in 2021 – indicating that the total income of the richest 20% was four times that of the poorest 20%.
Eva O’Regan, Statistician in the Income, Consumption and Wealth Division, said that inflation in 2022 had eroded any increase in household income from the previous year.
“An overall increase in the proportion of people at risk of poverty in 2022 compared with 2021 is also observed, but levels are similar to those seen in SILC 2020. The report also highlights the higher incidence of the risk of poverty amongst certain groups such as persons unable to work due to long-standing health problems; the unemployed; single-adult households; and those in rented accommodation,” she said.