IRELAND's population is growing but it’s fatter and drinking more.
New figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that more of the population is overweight and binge drink on a regular basis as incomes rise.
Almost two-thirds of the population (62pc) were overweight or obese in 2017, compared with 60pc in 2015.
And 39pc of those aged 15 years and older binge drink on a regular basis, consuming more than three pints in one sitting. This compares with 37pc in 2016.
It also says that average annual earnings rose by 2pc to €37,646 compared with €36,920 in 2016.
Full-time employees earned €46,402, up 1.6pc on 2016, while part-time workers earned €17,059, up 3.2pc.
The ‘Ireland’s Facts and Figures 2018’ report says the population currently stands at 4,857,000, a rise of 64,500, despite the number of births falling.
In 2017, some 62,053 children were born, a drop of 2.9pc compared with 2016. The same year, there were 30,484 deaths registered, up 94 on 2016, with 18,102 fatalities due to cancers or diseases of the circulatory system.
The report also shows that traditional names remain popular. Jack, James, Daniel, Conor and Sean have been in the top five most popular boys names since 2007, while Emily is the most popular girls name for the seventh year in a row.
Fewer couples are getting married, with 22,021 marriages in 2017 which is down 605 compared with 2016.
There were 759 same-sex marriages in 2017, a drop of 297.
But the report also highlights how a sizeable proportion of the population cannot afford basics.
Some 18.8pc of the population experience ‘enforced deprivation’ defined as not being able to afford two or more basics such as two pairs of strong shoes, a warm waterproof coat or a meal with meat, chicken or fish every second day.
15.7pc are at risk of poverty where their income is less than 60pc of the national average. 6.7pc live in consistent poverty, being at risk of poverty and experiencing forced deprivation.
Some 11.8pc of children aged up to 17 years were living in a jobless household.
It also highlights how the cost of staples including bread, vegetables and a night at the cinema is rising – 2.5kg of potatoes cost €3.18, up 0.6pc; a sliced pan is 2.2pc more expensive, a litre of motoring fuel is also up, as are the cost of a ladies or gents’ haircut, a packet of cigarettes and a cinema ticket.
Conversely, a bottle of whiskey, kilo of cheese, kilo of beef and two litres of milk is cheaper.
On the numbers at work, it says were 2,273,200 people in employment last year, up 3pc, of which 460,300 were part-time. Some 143,800 are unemployed, a drop of 19,700 compared with 2017.
In 1965, there were 20,698 people at third-level education. This stands at 189,147 today.
The report also finds that SMEs generated 50.2pc of total turnover in the business economy.
Foreign multi-nationals employed 293,147 people and generated €345bn in turnover.
There were 856,049 people employed in Irish multinationals abroad, 36pc of whom were in the UK or US.
And it again highlights how Ireland is an export-led economy.
Total exports of goods and services amounted to €352.6bn in 2017, compared with €263.3bn in imports.
Ireland exported €122bn worth of goods, and imported goods valued at €79bn.