Published date: 07 Mar 2024

More than one in five children in Ireland experienced poverty last year 

Children maintain the highest Consistent Poverty rate, Deprivation rate, and At Risk of Poverty rate of all age cohorts 

Commenting on the latest Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) figures published today (07.03.24) by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the Children’s Rights Alliance is urging the current Government to make Budget 2025 one to End Child Poverty.

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said;

The figures published this morning paint a concerning picture for children and young people. Children and young people now have the highest poverty rates in the State. The fact that there was almost 27,000 less children in consistent poverty is very positive but the number of children trapped in an endless cycle of poverty is still far too high. However, there was no significant drop in the numbers of children at risk of poverty and we are also seeing the deprivation rate continuing to rise.”

Not a day goes by that we do not hear about the impact that poverty is having, and not a day goes by where each of these children does not feel its afflicting influence on their lives. Child poverty impacts every aspect of a child’s life, from waking up every day and not knowing where the next meal is coming from, to being constantly cold due to no access to heating, or thinking of what to tell their friends because, yet again, they cannot afford the next school trip. This persistent weight on small shoulders can follow a child into adulthood. These figures truly put the daily uphill struggle thousands of families are facing into perspective. One child living in poverty is one too many. To have more than 260,000 children, more than the populations of Clare and Waterford combined, is unfathomable.”

The SILC data shows:

  • 58,491 children living in consistent poverty: The number of children living in consistent poverty fell from 7% in 2022 to 4.8% which is largely due to the impact of the cost-of-living measures in 2023. However, it remains the highest of any age cohort.
  • 260,773 children experienced deprivation in 2023: The number of children experiencing enforced deprivation rose from 18.8.% in 2022 to 21.4% in 2023 meaning more than 1 in 5 children in Ireland experienced deprivation.
  • 174,255 Children at risk of poverty in 2023: The number of children at risk of poverty fell from 14.7 % in 2022 to 14.3% in 2023, the highest rate of any age cohort.

“These figures tell an important story. The impact of the cost-of-living measures is clearly visible, working to bring the consistent rates of poverty down. In fact, the numbers would be far greater in each category if we were to remove these measures. We know that child poverty is a consequence of political and policy decisions. This shows that when Government takes action, we see results. However, it is deeply disheartening to see that despite marginal decreases, it is still children and young people feeling the biggest impact. It is a resounding call for more targeted measures to break this cycle of poverty for our youngest citizens.”

Right now, we find ourselves in the defining moment of an entire generation, where this is no longer the experience of a minority of children but rather the reality for thousands of children in every county.”

The Children’s Rights Alliance is calling for Budget 2025, to be a budget designed to end child poverty.

“The continued drive to deliver key universal measures is now coming to fruition. Sustained investment to expand the Free School Books and Hot School Meals Schemes show a commendable effort by the Government to really grapple with child poverty and social exclusion. The fall in the number of children in consistent poverty shows that Government is on the right path. However, it will take successive budgets to deliver the significant investment and ambitious long-term action that is needed to end child poverty. It is crucial that each Budget builds on the momentum of the last if we are to be in successful in finally breaking the cycle of poverty.”

Budget 2025 offers a chance for the current government to go further than ever before in delivering ambitious measures to realise a better standard of living for our young people and families most in need. In order to this we need to see a sharper focus on targeted payments like the Qualified Child Increase that has not seen a sufficient level of investment in the last two budgets for families to even stay still. Targeted payments are essential and need to be delivered in tandem with universal measures to ensure every child can reap their benefits. If the Government is serious about delivering a ‘child poverty budget’ we cannot see one without the other,” concluded Tanya Ward.



For media queries contact:  

Emma Archbold /Gillian Hogan: [email protected] /087 997 1410  


Notes to Editors:  

  • Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance is available for media interviews.  
  • Read the Central Statistics Office SILC report here. 


About the Children’s Rights Alliance
Founded in 1995, the Children’s Rights Alliance unites 150 members working together to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. Further information is available at: or on Twitter, @ChildRightsIRL #EndChildPoverty  


For media queries, please contact:

Emma Archbold

Campaigns and Communications Director