Thousands of families would be affected by means test
Hundreds of thousands of families could be hit by any changes to child benefit, but determining the exact number is difficult.
Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) suggest one in four (24.8pc) of households with children have incomes above €100,000. But the Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) includes households with children aged under 18 years but also grandparents who may live at the same address.
It also includes all sources of income, including salary, State payments including child benefit and disability payments, as well as other sources such as rental income. Not all these income streams might be assessed in a means test.
Census 2016 suggests there are 862,000 families with children, but there is no detail on incomes. The CSO said it could not be stated that 24.8pc of these families could be affected by possible changes, as the census included children under 15 years of age, whereas SILC included children under 18 years.
Data from the Revenue suggests that of 2.3 million so-called tax units (single people and couples), almost 113,000 pay tax on earnings above €100,000 a year. But there is no breakdown on whether these taxpayers have children.