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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

No Pot of Gold over the Irish Rainbow?

While Ireland ranks well in the Ease of Settling In Index, the cost of living leaves many expats worried about their personal finances.
  • Widespread dissatisfaction with financial situation
  • Economy and labor market looking up
  • Friendly locals and a culture that’s easy to get used to
  • Not one expat gives weather highest rating

Expat Statistics 2016

Expat Statistics for Ireland — infographic

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Hard Economic Times …

While Ireland may be famed for leprechauns with pots of gold, this treasure would seem to be as hard to come by in real life as in the legends: Ireland ranks 65th out of 67 countries in the Personal Finance Index. A quarter of expats in Ireland are overall unsatisfied with their financial situation compared to 17% globally. Meanwhile, 16% state that their disposable household income is not nearly enough to cover everything they need in their daily life compared to the global average of just 7%.

The country also ranks consistently low in the Cost of Living Index: 50th out of 61 in 2014, 59th out of 64 in 2015, and 57th this year. The cost of living in general is considered positively by 26% in Ireland, whereas 49% worldwide hold the same opinion. Indeed, even before they moved there, expats in Ireland were worried about this factor: 48% say they considered the cost of living to be a possible disadvantage prior to moving.

… But a Gradual Recovery

While the state of the economy is a cause for concern for expats in Ireland — just 5% consider it to be very good compared to 17% globally — there has been a gradual recovery over recent years. In fact, the Irish economy is the fastest-growing economy in the EU according to the European Commission.

And while some expats may still be worried about the state of the economy, the largest sectors in Ireland are those which could hold the most promise over a long period of time. The IT sector is the top sector in Ireland with 30% of working expats compared to 13% globally. All in all, 62% of respondents say they viewed the economy and/or labor market as a potential benefit of a move to Ireland (46% globally).

Céad Míle Fáilte — A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

Although Ireland may have dropped in the Ease of Settling In Index from 13th out of 64 countries last year to 23rd out of 67 countries this year, the stereotypes of Irish friendliness continue to hold true. Ireland ranks 20th in the Friendliness subcategory with just 4% feeling negatively about the general friendliness of the population compared to 15% globally. Indeed, three-quarters of expats in Ireland feel that the local culture is generally easy to get used to.

“The Irish are very friendly and helpful, always willing to have a chat or lend a hand in anything. The second best thing is the beautiful unspoiled nature.”

Of course, another benefit for many expats there is the language. Over three-quarters (77%) aren’t at all hindered by a language barrier compared to an average of 43% across the globe. It is important to remember, however, that these results are somewhat biased, as the Expat Insider 2016 survey was conducted in English, one of Ireland’s official languages.

A Grey Life in Ireland

When it comes to the quality of life, the local climate and weather seem to be one of the biggest problems for expats. Not one respondent in Ireland rates the climate and weather as very good, while 16% — the highest percentage of all countries — state that it is in fact very bad. The transport infrastructure does little to improve the quality of life with 36% saying it is generally bad compared to just a quarter globally.

“Living outside of Dublin makes it more difficult to connect … and the weather is harsh.”

Healthcare is another sore point for expats in Ireland. The quality of medical care is viewed as overall good by just 36% (62% worldwide), while the affordability of healthcare is rated negatively by the majority of expats in Ireland (51%).

Lastly, when talking about life in Ireland, please note that not enough expat parents responded to qualify Ireland for the Family Life Index.

Further Reading