Business World

Friday 20 April 2018

Irish earn more than most of the developed world

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

WE may be stuck in the teeth of economic collapse, but Irish people still earn more, work less and are happier than most of the developed world.

A recent study from the Organisation of Economic Corporation and Development (OECD), which includes 36 of the most developed countries, measures the quality of life in each of its member states.

The report compares its members across a range of measures, from housing quality, to how much time people spend volunteering and helping others in their community.

The report is a mixed bag for Ireland. The organisation found we make an average of $24,156 (€18,683) per year, well above the OECD mean of $22,387 (€17,312).

There is a huge gap between the richest and poorest. The top 20pc of earners make around four times as much as the bottom fifth of earners. Despite the higher income, the total value of a household's financial worth in Ireland excluding the family home has dropped 6.3pc since 2001 and now stands at only $21,485 (€16,613) -- barely 60pc of the OECD average of $36,238 (€28,021).


When it comes to work, we do 1,664 hours per year, the equivalent of 32 hours per week.

That is below the average 1,749 hours, but then again only 60pc of Irish people aged between 15 and 64 are working. That is 6pc below the rest of the organisation.

We are living longer than average as well with a life expectancy of 81, that is one year longer than the rest of the OECD. The report shows that we have a much stronger sense of community than elsewhere. We spend about 56 minutes a week doing volunteer work -- twice as much as the group average.

In general; Irish people are more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 77pc of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc). The OECD average is 72pc.


Even though we have a strong sense of community, there is little engagement in civic issues, perhaps reflected in the lack of protests here compared to other countries that have been bailed out.

"Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens' participation in the political process, was 67pc during recent elections, below the OECD average of 73pc.

"There is little difference in voting levels across society; voter turnout for the top 20pc of the population is 65pc and for the bottom 20pc it is 68pc, suggesting there is broad social inclusion in Ireland's democratic institutions."

Not surprisingly, housing conditions here are generally better than the rest of the group. Ireland has about 2.1 rooms per person -- the fifth best ratio in the OECD.

Irish Independent

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