Ireland 2023: The Year in Numbers

Friday, January 05, 2024.

The Year in Numbers series follows in the footsteps of the Statistical Yearbook of Ireland, which was first published in book format in 1931 as a compendium of all statistics published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). With the internet now providing easy and timelier access to our data, our yearly compilation has evolved into our Ireland: The Year in Numbers series. This is the second release in the series and aims to provide a glimpse of the volume and breadth of the information published by the CSO last year through the lens of key themes. In today’s release, the CSO provide accessible data and charts on 10 topics such as Inflation, Housing, and Population Change, which help tell the story of 2023.

2023 Key Highlights

  • The Consumer Price Index was 3.9% in November 2023, the lowest rate recorded for 25 months.
  • Census 2022 results showed that Ireland’s population exceeded the five million threshold for the first time in 171 years, up 8% since Census 2016.
  • The employment rate hit 74.2% in Quarter 2 2023, the highest point since the current series began 25 years ago.
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was estimated to have fallen by 1.9% in Quarter 3 2023, a fourth consecutive quarter of contraction. However, Modified Domestic Demand, a key measure of underlying domestic economic activity, was broadly unchanged in the quarter.
  • The proportion of adults who experienced sexual violence in their lifetime was 40%. More than half of women (52%) said they had experienced sexual violence, compared with 28% of men.
  • Around 80% of people used the internet in 2023 for shopping, banking, or booking/ordering services online, although using email was the most popular activity at 93%.
  • More than 700,000 people indicated on their Census form that they undertook voluntary work and of those, nearly 300,000 volunteered in a sporting organisation.
  • Almost 75% of the top 1% of earners were male, compared with 25% of females. Of those in the top 10% of earners, just over 70% were male and almost 30% were female.
  • The median or mid-point price of a dwelling steadily increased over the course of the year from €305,000 in January to €323,000 in October 2023, the latest month for which data is available.
  • Jack was the most popular name given to boys born in 2022 for the sixth year in a row, while Emily was the most popular name for baby girls. Murphy was the most common surname for babies born in 2022.
  • Almost half (45%) of all new private cars licensed were electric, plug-in hybrid, or hybrid, up to October 2023.

Inflation

Consumer Price Index

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), Ireland’s official measure of inflation, dropped steadily over the course of 2023 from a high of 8.5% in February 2023 to 3.9% in November 2023, which is the latest month for which data is available. This is down on the high inflation levels seen in 2022 and early 2023 where inflation was above 7% for 12 straight months from April 2022 to April 2023 and peaked at 9.2% in October 2022. Inflation during this period was driven primarily by an increase in energy costs with the price of electricity, gas and other fuels peaking at 72.8% in October 2022.

Over the course of 2023, energy prices began to fall and the impact of mortgage interest rate hikes became one of the main contributors to the CPI. The increase in mortgage interest rates peaked in August 2023 when they were up 51.3% on the same month in 2022. Other key contributors to inflation in 2023 were the price of food, the cost of eating out in a restaurant, and staying in a hotel.

Looking at the National Average Prices of some staple items, as of November 2023, the price of a 2.5kg bag of potatoes was up by 30c and a kilogram of cheese was up by 21c when compared with November 2022. At the same time, the price of milk and butter fell slightly and were down 6c and 3c respectively.

Figure 1.1 All Items Annual Percentage Change © Central Statistics Office, Ireland https://data.cso.ie/table/CPM01

Wholesale Price Index

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) measures the average price level of goods sold on the wholesale market. The monthly WPI release includes producer price indices for many products including food products, construction materials, and wholesale electricity prices. When it comes to producer prices for food products, we can see they rose between December 2022 and January 2023 but have been falling for most months since then. By November 2023, the index was at its lowest point in almost two years – the last month it was lower was in December 2021.

In November 2022, the producer price index for Dairy Products reached its highest point of 188.5 since the current series started in January 2015. By November 2023 the index was back down to 122.5, which was the lowest point the index has been at since September 2021.

The All Materials Index for construction products reached a peak in April 2023 of 145.9, the highest point since the current series started in January 2015. By November 2023, the index had dropped to 143.8, but this level was still higher than observed for this series in any other month prior to 2023.

Looking at the electricity market, wholesale electricity prices tended to be lower in 2023 than 2022. The latest available data, up to November 2023, shows that the wholesale electricity price index for each month in 2023 was lower than the corresponding month in 2022.

Figure 1.2 Electricity (Base year 2015 as 100) Source: CSO Ireland

Metered Electricity and Gas Bills

A substantial increase in energy prices led to the government introducing support measures for household costs for 2022 and 2023. VAT on household electricity and gas was reduced from 13.5% to 9% on 01 May 2022, and will remain at that reduced rate until 31 October 2024. A credit of €200 (including VAT) was provided to all domestic electricity accounts between 01 April 2022 and 30 June 2022. A second €200 credit for 2022 was given from 01 November 2022 to 31 December 2022, followed by two more between 01 January 2023 and 30 April 2023. Three additional electricity support credits of €150 each will be provided between 29 November 2023 and 28 February 2024.

In 2022, with the first two €200 credits included, the median or mid-point annual electricity bill was €909, down 28% from €1,268 in 2021. This was partly due to a decline in electricity usage of 12% over 2021. Residential electricity consumption in 2022 was at its lowest level for eight years. By contrast, the median residential gas bill rose by 31% to €972 in 2022, even as median gas consumption for the year fell by 16%.

Household electricity and gas usage in 2022 was highest in January to March (Q1) 2022, and lowest in July to September (Q3). The final impact of winter 2022-’23 on bill costs will be seen when the 2023 data is released later in 2024.

Figure 1.3 Median Total Annual Bill Costs for Residential Electricity and Gas 2015 – 2022 ; © Central Statistics Office, Ireland
https://data.cso.ie/table/TMEGB05

Housing

New Dwellings Completions

The number of new dwelling completions rose in six of the eight regions of Ireland in the 12 months to Q3 2023, with a fall recorded in just two regions. The largest relative increase was in Dublin at 36.7%, with rises also in the Midlands (25.9%), Border (14.9%), Mid-West (13.8%), West (3.1%), and Mid-East (0.3%) regions. The decreases were in the regions of the South-West (Cork City and County Kerry) (11.8%) and the South-East (Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, and Wexford) (0.6%).

Looking at the most recent available figures, we can see the number of new dwelling completions in July, August, and September (Q3) 2023 was 8,452. This was up by 14.4% from Q3 2022. Apartment completions rose by 47.3% in the 12 months to Q3 2023 and accounted for just under four in ten (39.9%) of all completions. Scheme dwellings rose by 1.5%, while single dwellings fell 4.7% in Q3 2023 compared with the same quarter last year.

Figure 1.4 Year-on-Year Comparison of New Dwelling Completions by Region (Q3 2022 – Q3 2023) ; © Central Statistics Office, Ireland
https://data.cso.ie/table/NDQ08

Residential Property Price Index

Figures for the first 10 months of last year show the Residential Property Price Index (RPPI) reached its highest ever level in October at 171.9, which was 5.1% greater than its highest level at the peak of the property boom in April 2007. The median or mid-point price of a dwelling steadily increased over the course of the year from €305,000 in January to €323,000 in October 2023, which is the latest month for which data is available.

For each of the first 10 months last year, by region, Dublin had the highest median price (high of €439,250 in October). Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown was the most expensive region within Dublin (high of €635,000 in March and September). Outside Dublin, Wicklow had the highest median price (high of €427,499 in October). According to the latest available data, the top 10 median property prices by Eircode area were all in Dublin, with A94 ‘Blackrock’ being the most expensive (high of €755,000 in January and February).

Note: All median prices mentioned above are rolling 12-month medians. All figures are correct at the time of publication up to 13 December 2023. The results for November 2022 to October 2023 are provisional and subject to revision.

Figure 1.5 Rolling 12-Month Median Prices of Market-based Household Purchases of Residential Dwellings ; © Central Statistics Office, Ireland
https://data.cso.ie/table/HPM08

Housing Occupancy and Stock

Reflecting the growing population, Census 2022 results showed that the number of occupied households has risen by 8% since 2016 to 1.85 million while the total stock of habitable permanent housing was also up by more than 5%.

The largest increases in the size of the housing stock were primarily around Dublin, but the fastest growth was recorded in Meath and Kildare, up by more than 11% in both counties.

Map 1.1 Percentage Change in Housing Stock Since the Previous Census by County and City, 2022 ; https://data.cso.ie/table/F2020
© Central Statistics Office, Ireland, Tiles © Esri, © National Mapping Division of Tailte Éireann

Population

The publication this year of Census 2022 results shows that the State’s population stood at 5,149,139 people in 2022, up 8% since Census 2016, and 83% higher than in 1961 when the population was at its lowest point at 2,818,341 people.

The four largest counties have seen considerable falls in their population throughout the years and, in 2022, there were 65% fewer people living in Mayo and 32% fewer people living in Cork than recorded in the pre-Famine Census of 1841.

Figure 1.6 Population of Selected Counties by Census Year, 1841 to 2022 ; © Central Statistics Office, Ireland
https://data.cso.ie/table/F1001

 

Looking at the population make-up, more than 4.3 million people living in the State in 2022 indicated they had either Irish or dual-Irish citizenship. A further 12% of the population, or 631,785 people, were non-Irish citizens, and almost half of those people were citizens of other EU countries.

In 2022, non-Irish citizens had an average age of 36 years compared with an average age of over 39 years for Irish citizens. Recent censuses have shown our population is getting older. This trend continued in Census 2022 and the average age has risen to 38.8 years.

Source: CSO Ireland84 %​Irish​84 %​Irish12 %​Non-Irish​12 %​Non-Irish3 %​None/Not stated​3 %​None/Not statedHighcharts.comFigure 1.7 Population Usually Resident and Present in the State by Citizenship (%), 2022

 
Source: CSO Ireland40 ​Other​40 ​Other4 ​Brazil​4 ​Brazil7 ​India​7 ​India7 ​Romania​7 ​Romania5 ​Lithuania​5 ​Lithuania3 ​Italy​3 ​Italy13 ​UK​13 ​UK3 ​Latvia​3 ​Latvia3 ​Spain​3 ​Spain15 ​Poland​15 ​PolandHighcharts.comFigure 1.8 Non-Irish Population Usually Resident and Present in the State by Citizenship (%), 2022

Figure 1.7 Population Usually
Resident and Present in the State
by Citizenship (%), 2022 ; Figure 1.8 Non-Irish Population
Usually Resident and Present in
the State by Citizenship (%), 2022

 

Migration

The number of immigrants, or those entering the State in the year to April 2023, was estimated to have grown from 107,800 in 2022 to 141,600 people in 2023, or by just over 31%. The number of emigrants, or those leaving the State, also rose over the same period from 56,100 to 64,000 people. These combined flows gave positive net migration, (i.e. more people arrived than left) of 77,600 in the year to April 2023, compared with 51,700 people the previous year, or an increase of 50%.

When assessing citizenship, there were 81,100 Rest of the World citizens who were immigrants in the year to April 2023. The inflow of Ukrainian citizens contributed significantly to this inflow in 2023. Of the 64,000 emigrants, 30,500 were Irish citizens. When combined with a total of 29,600 returning Irish citizens, there was close to zero net migration (-900 people) in the year to April 2023.

Figure 1.9 Immigration, Emigration and Net Migration 2017 – 2023 ; © Central Statistics Office, Ireland https://data.cso.ie/table/PEA03

Agricultural Prices

Agricultural prices have seen some remarkable changes over the last year, particularly in milk and fertiliser prices. Overall, we can see the 2023 Agricultural Input Price Index (which measures trends in how much farmers spend to generate produce) has been higher than the 2023 Output Price Index (which is the price the farmer gets when they sell their goods), with August showing the most significant difference. The only exceptions were January and June 2023.

Looking at milk price indices, they are now significantly lower than the historically high prices reached in 2022. As of October 2023, milk prices were down 38.3% when compared with October 2022 and down 10.0% when compared with 2021.

Figure 1.10 Milk Price Index (Base 2015=100) ; © Central Statistics Office, Ireland
https://data.cso.ie/table/AHM04

When it comes to fertiliser, the fertiliser price indices fell considerably between January and August 2023, but had plateaued since September and October 2023. Fertiliser prices have seen remarkable fluctuations over the last 24 months. In October 2022, fertiliser prices rose by more than 97.7% when compared with October 2021 and while as of October 2023, prices had fallen by 47.0% when compared with October 2022, they were still higher than October 2021 prices.

Figure 1.11 Fertiliser Price Index (Base 2015=100) ; © Central Statistics Office, Ireland
https://data.cso.ie/table/AHM04

Labour Market and Earnings

Employment

Growth in Ireland’s labour market continued in 2023, with the estimated number of people in employment rising to just over 2.65 million in Q3 2023.

The employment rate, which measures the working age population aged 15 to 64, hit 74.2% in Q2 – the highest point in 25 years since the current series began – before dropping slightly to 74.1% in Q3.

The number who were classified as unemployed was just under 130,000 people in Q3 2023, with an unemployment rate of 4.6%.

The labour market participation rate for those aged 15 and over was 65.8% in Q3 2023, its highest level since 2008.

The chart shows the estimated number of persons in employment, unemployed and not in the labour force in Q3 2023 compared with 10 years ago, when the comparable employment and unemployment rates were at 62.5% and 13.7% respectively.

Figure 1.12 Employment Status Q3 2013 and Q3 2023

Earnings

As of Q3 2023, average weekly earnings were €907.72, up by almost 33% when compared with €682.79 recorded ten years earlier in Q3 2013.  It is worth nothing that average weekly earnings have gone up in every sector of the economy over that 10-year period.

Figure 7.2 below shows preliminary estimates for average weekly earnings by economic sector for Q3 2023 and final estimates for Q3 2013.

The sectors with the highest average weekly earnings in Q3 2023 were Information & Communication, followed by Financial, Insurance & Real Estate Activities. Interestingly, these were the same sectors with the highest average weekly earnings in Q3 2013 as well.

The largest percentage increase in average weekly earnings in the 10 years to Q3 2023 was in the Information & Communication sector, up from €1,018.51 to €1,525.19. The second largest growth over the last 10 years was in the Administrative & Support Service Activities sector, where average weekly earnings rose from €490.25 in Q3 2013 to €701.94 to Q3 2023.

Figure 1.13 Average Weekly Earnings, Q3 2013 to Q3 2023 ; © Central Statistics Office, Ireland
https://data.cso.ie/table/EHQ03

Crime

One of the more notable features of Recorded Crime data over the last number of years has been the impact of COVID-19 related public health restrictions on recorded crime incidents in the area of Fraud, Deception & Related offences and Theft & Related offences.

In 2019, there were 7,919 recorded incidents of Fraud, Deception & Related offences and this fell slightly to 7,851 in 2020. By 2021, the impact of public health restrictions was keenly felt as the number of recorded incidents nearly doubled to 17,091 and by early 2022, all restrictions had been lifted and the number of incidents of this offence fell to 11,646. In the first half of 2023, fraud crime incidents totalled 5,319.

The number of incidents of Theft & Related offences however was highest at 68,144 in 2019. As restrictions came into force in 2020 and 2021, the number of incidents fell to 51,461 in 2020 and to 46,791 in 2021. By 2022, the number of incidents of this crime climbed to 65,839 as restrictions were removed. In the first half of 2023, there were 36,328 reported incidents of Theft & Related offences.

Figure 1.14 Recorded crime incidents of Fraud, Deception and Related offences, Q1 2019 – Q2 2023 ; © Central Statistics Office, Ireland
https://data.cso.ie/table/CJQ01

Trade

Total exports of goods for January to October 2023 were valued at €167 billion. This is almost €10 billion (5%) less than exports in the first 10 months of 2022. However, goods exports for this period of 2023 were still almost €30 billion, or 22%, higher than the January to October 2021 value of €137 billion.

Exports of Chemicals & Related Products accounted for €109 billion, or two-thirds of the total value of goods exports in the first ten months of 2023.

Total goods imports for the first 10 months of 2023 were almost €113 billion, which is just over €3 billion lower than the same period of 2022. There were €41 billion of imports of Machinery & Transport Equipment.

Goods imports for this period in 2023 were nearly €31 billion more than imports in January to October 2021.

Figure 1.15 Exports and Imports January-October 2021-2023

Transport

Consumer preference for climate-friendly transport options continued strongly in 2023 with CSO data showing growth in the number of electric and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles licensed in Ireland.

Almost half (45%) of all new private cars licensed were electric, PHEV, or hybrid in 2023.

The share of electric cars as the total number of new cars licensed grew from 1% in 2018 to 15% 2022. In fact, the number of new electric cars licensed has grown by almost half (47%) from 14,707 between January and October 2022 to 21,667 when compared with the same 10-month period of 2023.

It is interesting to note that Tesla, which only makes electric cars, was the most popular make of new private car licensed in June 2023 with 833 such vehicles registered.

At the same time, the share of diesel cars in Ireland is falling. In 2018, 54% of all new cars licensed were diesel cars compared with 27% in 2022. In the first 10 months of 2023, the number of diesel cars licensed decreased by 4% when compared with the same period of 2022.

Figure 1.16 New Private Cars Licensed by Fuel Type January – October 2023 ; © Central Statistics Office, Ireland
https://data.cso.ie/table/TEM12

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