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Wednesday 21 March 2018

We're the world's top givers to charity – but among the most indebted

THE Central Statistics Office may have produced the most up-to-date figures on the Irish economy, but the 'Economist' magazine's annual study of global statistics for 2014 offers a much more entertaining smorgasbord of economic data.

While we might not be too surprised to learn that only the Czechs buy more beer than the Irish, who would have known that Ireland has the world's fifth highest rate of car ownership?

We have 637 cars per 1,000 population compared with 434 for the neighbouring UK which comes 31st.

On a more positive note, Ireland is the world's top giver, along with Australia. In a single month, 60pc of the population either gave money to charity, gave time to those in need or helped a stranger.

Perhaps this helps to explain why we are also among the most indebted? Ireland has the third highest level of household debt in the OECD with household debt running at twice the US level.

The figures also show that we remain cinema lovers despite all the economic gloom, coming in sixth in world for cinema visits, higher than any other EU country.

We're not so hot when it comes to the internet with just 77pc of the population using the web compared to 95pc in Iceland and 82pc in the UK, which puts us 27th in the world.

Still, despite all our grouching, the big picture is that we are not doing too badly when it comes to the really important things.

Ireland is the 13th most democratic country in the world and comes seventh highest in the Human Development Index. Norway comes top and the poor old UK comes in a lowly 26th.

The 'Pocket World in Figures' is published tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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