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Uneven progress towards sustainable development levels


The World population was estimated at 7.2 billion persons in 2012 and this is forecast to increase by 14% to 8.2 billion persons in 2025. In Ireland people have around 25 years additional life expectancy compared with Africans. European countries donate a higher proportion of their Gross National Income to official development assistance than other economically-developed regions.

General government debt in Ireland fell from 80% of GDP in 1995 to 25% in 2006 before increasing to 106% of GDP in 2011.

Ireland received a net €1.5 billion from the EU in 2000 but in 2009 contributed €156 million on a net basis. In 2011 we were again net recipients receiving €310 million. In 2011, Germany’s net contribution was almost €11 billion while Poland’s net receipts were €10.9 billion.

Income tax as a proportion of total exchequer tax revenue decreased from 34% in 2000 to 27% in 2006 but then increased to 41% in 2011. In contrast corporation tax increased from 10% in 1995 to 16% in 2002 but fell to 10% in 2011.

In 2010, persons (cases) earning under €20,000 accounted for 10% of total taxable income and paid 0.3% of total income tax. Those earning over €100,000 accounted for 23% of total taxable income and paid 46% of total income tax.

Public sector wages increased from 33% of general government current expenditure in 2000 to 37% in 2005 before decreasing to 31% in 2011. During the 2000-2008 period public sector wages accounted for six to ten percentage points more of general government current expenditure than the proportion accounted for by social welfare payments. In 2009 both represented 33% of the total. In 2011 social welfare payments, at 34%, exceeded the cost of public sector wages.

In the EU, Ireland had the highest level of completions of residential units per 1,000 persons with a rate of 17.8 in 2007. Spain was the next highest at 15.4. In 2011 the rates had fallen to 2.3 in Ireland and 3.6 in Spain. In contrast, the rate in Germany has been much steadier at around two completions per 1,000 persons during the 2007-2011 period.

The proportion of children aged 5-12 being driven to school by car increased from 26% in 1986 to 61% in 2011. The proportion of children aged 13-18 going to school as car passengers rose from 11% to 40% over the same period. In 2011, two out of three persons drove to their place of work.

Ireland’s imported energy dependency increased from 69% in 1990 to 88% in 2011. Our import dependency on oil decreased from 66% of total fuel imports in 2005 to 57% in 2011. Our import dependency on gas increased from 20% to 31% over the same period.

The recovery rate of packaging waste trebled from 25% in 2001 to 74% in 2010. The amount of municipal waste sent to landfill decreased from 2 million tonnes in 2001 to 1.5 million tonnes in 2010.

Ireland had the second lowest level of forest cover in the EU in 2010 with 10.7% of total land area.

Editor’s note: Sustainable Development Indicators Ireland 2013 is available on the CSO web site Sustainable Development Indicators Ireland 2013 (PDF 3,174KB)


This report may be purchased from:

The Central Statistics Office, Information Section, Skehard Road, Cork

Price €5.00


For further information contact:

Ciarán Counihan (01 498 4215) or Gerry Brady (01 498 4201).


Central Statistics Office                                                               28 February 2013                   

                                               – ENDS –