Severe Material Deprivation

Key Point

One in thirteen Irish people are severely materially deprived.


Eurostat have published data on the number of people in the EU who are severely materially deprived. 7.5% of the population both in Ireland and the EU are in this situation. The number ranges from 0.8 per cent in Sweden to 31.9 per cent in Bulgaria.

Ireland is in the middle rank of countries with rates of deprivation between 5 and 10 per cent of the population; alongside the UK, Slovenia, Belgium, Spain, Poland, Slovakia and Portugal.


Severely materially deprived persons have living conditions constrained by a lack of resources and experience at least 4 out of the 9 following deprivation items: the individual cannot afford

1) to pay rent/mortgage or utility bills on time,
2) to keep home adequately warm,
3) to face unexpected expenses,
4) to eat meat, fish or a protein equivalent every second day,
5) a one week holiday away from home,
6) a car,
7) a washing machine,
8) a colour TV, or
9) a telephone (including mobile phone).

The Data

The percentage of the population suffering severe material deprivation is in Table 1. The data for Ireland refers to 2015.

Table 1 – Persons severely materially deprived (%)



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Image Credit – From the series Youth Unemployment by Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha

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