ACCORDING TO the latest findings from Ireland’s Central Office of Statistics, a large percentage of those under 30 would contemplate heading for another European country.
The cost of living is cited as the main reason for disaffection with living in Ireland, with lack of housing or cost of renting being a particular bugbear.
The CSO survey found that more than 57 per cent of respondents aged 18 to 29 said ‘they would consider emigrating’ in order to live in a place with a lower cost of living.
But whereas in the past Britain would have been the natural choice for those leaving the country — followed by the US and then Australia — other European countries are now often considered preferred destinations, particularly as Britain is beset by what is probably a worse rising cost of living than Ireland.
France is one of the top European destinations for younger Irish people.
But a common language still makes a Britain a valid choice for many of Ireland’s younger people.
The shortage of housing in Ireland remains the single most negative element for those seeking to set up home or start a family.
CSO statistician Aoife O’Neill said: “Different age groups had different concerns: 45 per cent of those aged over 70 said healthcare was their biggest concern, whereas those aged 60 to 69 were most likely to cut back on fuel (60 per cent).
“Younger adults were concerned they couldn’t afford to start a family, with nearly three in ten (29 per cent) of 18 to 29-year-olds selected this option.
“More than half or 56 per cent of respondents to the ‘Our Lives Our Money’ CSO Pulse Survey said they are very concerned with the current cost of living. When asked what they are most worried about, 76 per cent said utility costs are of greatest concern. Other areas of concern respondents highlighted from a maximum choice of three include healthcare (30 per cent), no savings or pension (31 per cent), credit card loan (19 per cent), and mortgage/rent (24 per cent).
Average rents in Ireland have increased by more than 85 per cent in the past 12 years, the third highest increase in the European Union. Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) revealed in a report last week that first-time buyers are paying €400 a month less than the average amount paid by renters. However, a hefty deposit is required to secure a mortgage, and this is often out of reach for those under 30.
According to the Irish Daily Mail, a lack of housing stock and an increase of the population by over half a million in the last 11 years has greatly added to the problems of housing.