SILC 2017

SILC 2017 – One Parent Families (OPFs) vs National Averages

The following is a brief summary of poverty stats and how OPFs compare to the national averages. The stats highlight clearly highlight OPFs as an impoverished cohort.

At risk of poverty

In 2017, the at risk of poverty rate was 15.7%, a reduction of 0.5% on 2016 figures. However, the at risk of poverty rates continue to remain high amongst one-parent families (OPFs) at a rate of 39.9% for OPFs, meaning individuals in OPFs households are approximately 2.5 times more likely to experience poverty than other cohorts (CSO Ireland, 2018).


In 2017, the national deprivation rate was 18.8%, a reduction of 2.2% on 2016 figures and 12.7% reduction on 2013. There was a reduction in deprivation rates for OPFs in 2017 on 2016 of 5.6%, however, in comparison with the national average deprivation rates remain high for OPFs at 44.5% in 2017 (CSO Ireland, 2018).

Consistent poverty

In 2017, the consistent poverty rate was 6.7% which is a significant reduction on 2016 of 1.6%. In comparison, the consistent poverty rates for OPFs was 20.7% meaning OPFs are three times for likely to experience consistent poverty based on national averages. Although there has been a reduction on OPF consistent poverty by 3.9% on 2016 figures, OPFs still experience significantly higher rates than other cohorts based on national averages (CSO Ireland, 2018).
OPF vs National Averages – At risk of poverty
Year20162017% change
National Average16.215.7-0.5
OPF vs National Averages – Deprivation
Year20162017% change
National Average21.018.3-2.2
OPF vs National Averages – Consistent poverty
Year20162017% change
National Average8.36.7-1.6

Census 2011

Unmarried Parents

Census data indicates that there were approximately 629,116 family units in Ireland with children under 20 in 2010. Of these:

– 140,658 were lone parent families representing 22.4% of all families with children under 20
– 127,651 were to lone mother families, 20.3% of all families
– 13,007 were lone father families, representing 2.1% of all families

There were 979,590 children under 15 living in the State on Census night of whom 138,533 were living in one parent families (14%).

Cohabiting Families

There were 57,671 cohabiting couples with children under 20, representing 9.2% (7.5% in Census 2006) of all couples with children under 20 in 2010.

The number of children of all ages living with cohabiting parents increased from 74,500 in 2006 to 104,665 in 2010, representing an increase of 7%.

CSO Vital Statistics

Vital Statistics from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) for the ‘Vital Statistics Yearly Summary 2015’ show that:

  • 36.4% of all births were outside marriage/civil partnership in 2015 (23,990), an increase of 0.1% on 2014
  • The highest percentage of births outside of either marriage or civil partnerships was in Limerick City at 55.7%.  The lowest was in DunLaoghaire Rathdown at 24.0%
  • The average age of mothers outside of marriage/civil partnership was 29.6 years.
  • 21.6% of all births were to unmarried parents living at the same address, 59.4% of all births registered as outside marriage were registered by parents at the same address

Read the full report

CSO Vital Statistics 2002 -2014

% of births registered as outside of marriage and % of births registered to parents at the same address*
(cohabiting parents) 2002 – 2014

Source:  CSO Stats
*This figure is only available since 2007

Births to women outside of marriage by age of mother

Births to women (outside marriage) under 20 by age of Mother

The Adoption Authority of Ireland

Adoption orders and Family Adoptions*

*Adoption by family members, usually mother and her husband

Women From the Republic of Ireland Accessing Abortion Services in England and Wales 2002 – 2015*

Source: UK Department of Health

Women From the Republic of Ireland Accessing Abortion Services in the Netherlands 2006 – 2014

Source: HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme

The Department of Social Protection

 One Parent Family Payment

One-Parent Family Payment (OPFP) is a means-tested payment for men and women who are caring for a child without the support of a partner.

% of children living with two cohabiting (unmarried) parents in 2005 and 2014*

EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) data 2013

Published February 2013, 2011 and 2010 Revised Results

The Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) in Ireland is a household survey covering a broad range of issues in relation to income and living conditions. It is the official source of data on household and individual income and also provides a number of key national poverty indicators such as the at risk of poverty rate and the consistent poverty rate.

The EU-SILC figures for 2013 show that one parent families continue to experience a disproportionate level of poverty. It is important to note that one parent families in the context of the EU-SILC data refers to parents who are divorced separated, widowed and parents who have never been married.

Risk of Poverty

  • Lone parent households continue to be at a high risk of poverty with a rate of 28.4% being recorded for individuals in these households. This is compared to a 16% at risk of poverty rate in the general population.
  • Lone parents represent 7.3% of the population.
  • 18.8% of children are at risk of poverty; they experience the highest rate of consistent poverty compared to other population groups (those over 65 years and the 18-64 age cohort).


  • Lone parent households report high levels of deprivation at 56%, an increase of 11.9% since 2009. The deprivation rate  for the general population is 24.5%.
    32.1% of Children were experiencing deprivation in 2011. This figure has increased from 23.5% in 2009.

Consistent Poverty

  • 16.4% of lone parent households were living in consistent poverty in 2011, this compares to 6.9% of the general population.

Growing Up in Ireland Survey 2013

The Growing Up in Ireland survey, initiated by Treoir, is an on-going national longitudinal study of children in Ireland. Data has been collected on a large cohort of infants (11,134), who were nine months old when the data was collected in 2008/9, and their parents. Treoir commissioned an analysis of the data relating to unmarried parents. Data was collected on lone unmarried parents and unmarried cohabitant parents. Outcomes for these groups were compared to those for married families who were the ‘reference  category’ in the study. Data on crisis pregnancy was also analysed. The full report is available on

Crisis Pregnancy

  • 16.4% of women experienced an ‘unintended pregnancy’, while just under 16% of women experienced a ‘stressful’ pregnancy, where this stress was solely due to the pregnancy itself.
  • Women whose pregnancies were both unintended and stressful at the same time are labeled as experiencing a ‘Pregnancy Crisis’. This group comprised 3.4% of women in the sample.
  • Marital status is significantly associated with crisis pregnancy, with unmarried-cohabitant parents 3 times more likely than married parents to experience crisis pregnancy and solo parents 4-5 times more likely.

Solo Parents

  • Solo Parents are two and a half times more likely than married parents to live in a household where anyone was receiving some form of social welfare payment.
  • Three out of every ten Solo parents (27.7%) were claiming One-parent family payment.
  • Solo parents are 10 times more likely to be welfare dependent, 9 times more likely to be on Rent Supplement and half as likely to as married parents to have been on Jobseeker’s Benefit.
  • Fared worse on every measure of deprivation

Father’s Involvement

  • Fathers in unmarried-cohabiting families were significantly more likely to share parenting duties than were married fathers
  • Among solo parents, one quarter had no contact whatsoever with the father of their child.
  • Among solo parents, 50% of fathers made no financial contribution to the maintenance of their child.