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Collins, Michael (2020) The hidden cost of poverty. Dublin: Society of St Vincent de Paul.

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The Hidden Cost of Poverty examines the cost of poverty categorised into six broad areas of public policy and expenditure:

  • Health Care
  • Children and Families
  • Education and Training
  • Housing
  • Gardaí, Criminal Justice and Emergency Services
  • Certain Welfare Supports

Within these broad areas the report examines a total of twenty-five individual areas or expenditure programmes. According to the author of report Dr. Micheál Collins, the purpose of the research is to highlight the additional public service costs that Irish society carries as a result of current and past experiences of poverty and establish a benchmark for the recurring annual costs to the state of poverty. 
The report shows that while most of those living in poverty are of working age there are a large number of children living below the poverty line. About 30% of all those in poverty are aged 17 years and under, averaging about 225,000 children each year. At the other end of the age distribution about 55,000 pensioners live on an income below the poverty line and represent approximately 8% of those living in poverty.

The report finds that:

  • o The additional spending to deal with poor health outcomes associated with poverty is estimated to be over €1.2 billion. 
  • o A significant proportion of state spending is allocated to support people in poverty unable to afford basics through social assistance (€592.7 million) and housing supports (€912.5 million). 
  • o In education, €549.7 million euro is spent every year dealing with the legacy effects of early experiences of child poverty and on measures to prevent children now experiencing the longer-term impacts of educational disadvantage. 

€917.4 million euro of expenditure in the justice system is spent dealing with the association between social and economic disadvantage, exclusion, marginalisation, and crime.  

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
June 2020
86 p.
Society of St Vincent de Paul
Place of Publication
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