Social Progress in Ireland 2017 

Affordable Housing - A Perspective

Our citizens don’t measure their well-being by consulting figures for national GDP growth or corporate quarterly results. These measures, beyond which we in the corporate world rarely look, are a very incomplete way of measuring the well-being of a society and its people.

Deloitte and the Social Progress Index have been working together since 2013 to gain a global view of people’s quality of life across 128 countries, including Ireland. It measures performance on Basic Human Needs, Foundation of Wellbeing and Opportunity, independent of a country’s wealth. 

The 2017 index and four years of results, tell us the world is generally improving. 113 countries, out of the 128 countries ranked, showed progress in this period. 

Ireland ranks 11th on the Index in 2017. It remains in the top tier of ranked countries with a “very high” level of social progress. Trends over the last four years point to:

  • Improvements Ireland has made in the fields of wellbeing and education. Ireland has also jumped a spot to 2nd place in tolerance and inclusion, our strongest area in the rankings. However, our overall score on tolerance and inclusion has decreased slightly.
  • The four year trends also highlight persistent challenges around water and sanitation and protection of biodiversity. Ireland has seen a striking change in its performance on satisfaction with the availability of affordable housing, where we have dropped from 15th place to 55th place globally since 2014. 

This year we have examined trends in affordable housing within the OECD group, based on measures within the SPI. We believe there are opportunities for the Irish Government to exchange views with peer countries that are currently facing affordability issues or that addressed such issues in the recent past. For example, Japan has battled with supply shortages and urbanisation via liberalised planning and building regulations, while Finland stands out for its ability to protect the most vulnerable through its “Housing First” programme. 

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