A new report produced by the Central Statistics Office in Dublin shows that Ireland is second only to Cyprus in the percentage increase of population within the EU between 1995 and 2004. The CSO report, titled `Measuring Ireland’s Progress,’ makes a number of observations that underline significant social change in Irish society.
The average household size has decreased from 3.13 persons to 2.88, with a 14 percent increase in the number of one-person households. Ireland ranks third in the EU for the number of 25 to 34-year-olds with a third-level education.
Less encouraging were findings on social and environmental issues. Expenditure on social protection policies was the lowest in the EU for the year 2001. Two years later some 21 percent of the population faced the risk of poverty, a disproportionately high figure matched only by Slovakia. Ireland uses landfill to dispose of municipal waste far more than the EU average, and cumulative inflation of 16 percent from 2000-04 was almost double the EU average. ♦