Second highest level of disposable income in Ireland is not reflective of real cost of living in Limerick

Limerick Chamber chief economist Seán Golden.

LIMERICK people have the second highest level of disposable income in Ireland, second only to Dublin, according to data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The data shows that the average disposable income for people across Limerick city and county in 2021 was €25,190.

Disposable income is defined as how much money a person has left after tax, including any social welfare payments such as child benefit.

However, disposable income does not take into account factors such as rent, mortgage payments, or the cost of living.

The most recent Rental Report for quarter three of 2023, compiled in November, put the average rent for a two-bedroom house in county Limerick at €1,464 per month.

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This works out at €17,568 in rent for 12 months, meaning that after rent, a person living alone in the county would have €7,622 left in their pockets before encountering any other living expenses.

In the city, according to, the average rent for a two-bedroom house in the city was €1,864 per month, or €22,368 per year.

When taken out of the CSO’s disposable income figures, this means someone living alone in Limerick City would only have €2,822 left after rent for the entire year.

Those with a mortgage averaging January 2023 estimations of €1,100 per month (or €13,200 over 12 months) would have disposable income just under €12,000 per year.

Factoring in the increase cost of living with both energy and grocery inflation and the real disposable income of those living in Limerick is likely far lower than CSO figures reckon.

Chief Economist with Limerick Chamber, Seán Golden, told the Limerick Post that while the county showing increases in disposable income is a good thing, the data is behind where we currently are.

“Firstly, it is great to see that Limerick has retained the top spot for disposable income outside Dublin and even managed to grow from the previous year, especially with the pandemic. Unfortunately, the data is two years behind where we are now. But we can draw for inferences around the cost of living,” the economist said.

“For example, as part Limerick Chamber’s most recent rental monitor, the price of a one bed in Limerick would be 73 per cent of a person’s net income in County Limerick and 86 per cent of net income in the city centre.

“This is a serious issue, especially when the commonly accepted definition of affordability is one third of net income. We are far off the mark and it forces professionals into house sharing when they are likely at the point in their life of wanting their own place.”

The Chamber’s chief economist concluded that “there needs to be quicker action around bringing forward state land for cost rental and affordable homes, performance to date around key sites is not good enough”.