Over a fifth of households were in arrears with at least one bill or loan in 2010, new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) have revealed.
The final version of their Survey of Income and Living Conditions 2010 was published today and showed that 22% of households were in arrears on at least one repayment two years ago.
It also found one-third of households who were classed as at risk of poverty were behind with a bill or loan.
The CSO found average annual equivalised disposable income (household income adjusted for household composition) in 2010 was €22,168, a drop of 5% on the 2009 figure of €23,326.
The CSO said there was an increase in income inequality between 2009 and 2010. It found that the top one-fifth of earners earned five and half times more than those in the bottom fifth category. That ratio rose from just under 4.5 from a year earlier, indicating increased inequality.
It found that the consistent poverty rate was 6.2%, representing no change on the 2009 figure.