Country is fifth most expensive place to live in EU
WE'VE got the most young people and the lowest levels of divorce but Ireland still has among the highest prices and worst unemployment in Europe, writes Aideen Sheehan.
A new Central Statistics Office report 'Measuring Ireland's Progress 2011' benchmarks the country's situation to see how we're faring compared to the rest of Europe.
It shows we're now the fifth most expensive country in Europe with prices here 17pc above average, though that's an improvement on 2005 when we were the second most expensive.
Although our economy grew by 1.4pc last year, our debt levels remain amongst the highest in Europe and the deficit between what the Government takes in and spends is bigger than anywhere else. Government debt is spectacularly high at 108pc of our gross domestic product, four times what it was in 2007.
However, on the plus side, Irish employees are nearly 40pc more productive than the EU average and we're recycling a lot more rubbish than we used to.
But our unemployment rate is the fifth highest in Europe and there's been an increase in people living in consistent poverty to 6.2pc.
Spending on each third-level student dropped by a dramatic 13.8pc, to €9,091 since 2002, but it rose by 31pc for primary school pupils to €6,368 and by 27pc for secondary students to €9,113.
Health spending per person has increased by a third since 2010 and we're living longer than most Europeans.
Murder and manslaughter rates almost halved from a peak of 84 in 2007 to 44 last year, but kidnapping, drug and weapons offences increased substantially.
Only 10,480 new homes were built last year, fewer than in the 1960s and less than a 10th of the 2006 level.
Our population is also growing faster than anywhere else in Europe.