Monday 26 February 2018

Food spend at 35-year low but housing soars

The proportion of total household expenditure relating to food dropped from 16.2pc in 2009-2010 to 14.6pc in 2015-2016, whereas the proportion related to housing increased from 18.2pc to 19.4pc over this five year period. Stock picture
The proportion of total household expenditure relating to food dropped from 16.2pc in 2009-2010 to 14.6pc in 2015-2016, whereas the proportion related to housing increased from 18.2pc to 19.4pc over this five year period. Stock picture
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Households are spending proportionally less on food than at any time over the last 35 years - but housing spending has soared.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) have revealed how the proportion of expenditure on food has been in steady decline, from 27.7pc in the early 1980s to just 14.6pc now.

The figures have laid bare the effect of the accommodation crisis, with the proportion of expenditure on housing having more than doubled, from 9.6pc to 19.4pc since the period of 1999-2000.

The statistics were published among detailed results of the 2015-2016 household budget survey, which was undertaken between February 2015 and February 2016.

A total of 6,839 households across the country were consulted for the study.

The proportion of total household expenditure relating to food dropped from 16.2pc in 2009-2010 to 14.6pc in 2015-2016, whereas the proportion related to housing increased from 18.2pc to 19.4pc over this five year period.

Average weekly household expenditure in 2015-2016 was €845.12, up 4.3pc on 2009-2010.

Expenditure on alcoholic drink and tobacco has decreased by more than 29pc in the past five years, to an average of €28 a week.

But the proportion of total alcohol expenditure on drink consumed at home increased from 41pc in 2009-2010 to more than 51pc in 2015-2016.

Elsewhere, expenditure on transport increased by nearly 7pc, from €116.31 a week in 2009-2010 to €124.39 in 2015-2016.

This was due to an increase in expenditure on car purchases.

There was a 7.1pc decrease in expenditure under this heading when expenditure on car purchases was excluded.

The figures also revealed the increasing importance of technology in our lives.

In 2015-2016, nearly 81pc of all households reported having at least one computer, compared with 77.3pc and 56.2pc five and 10 years previously, respectively.

In 2015-2016, just over half of all households indicated having two or more home computers.

Meanwhile, the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) has highlighted what it calls a "worrying but not an unsurprising pattern" of increase in the proportion of spending on services such as health, childcare and education between 2010 and 2015.

The CSO statistics showed a 13.8pc increase in spending under those headings between 2010 and 2015, compared with an increase in income of 6.8pc in the same period.

"It is the experience of SVP members that a lack of affordable quality services has made life more challenging for an increasing number of households both in and out of work," a statement said.

Irish Independent

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