Adult poverty levels in Northern Ireland have soared to their highest rate since the official deprivation measurement was introduced 10 years ago, new figures have revealed.
The number of working age people considered to be in absolute poverty – those whose income is below 60 per cent of an inflation adjusted bench-marked average – stood at 235,000 (22 per cent) last year, Department of Social Development data found.
This is up almost 100,000 on the 136,000 (13 per cent) deemed in absolute poverty in 2010/11.
The figures published yesterday cover April 2011 to March last year, with the data from this year not expected to be released until 2014.
In terms of relative poverty — which uses the current average income at any given time as a gauge — there was also an increase over 12 months from 199,000 (19 per cent) in 2010/11 to 213,000 (20 per cent) last year. The increase was not as dramatic on the relative scale as the data showed that average wages have now also plummeted to the lowest level in a decade to £373 per week.