Quality of Life After the Boom
Over the past decade the Irish economy has soared and has brought levels of average income to among the highest in the world. This economic ‘miracle’ has generated a great deal of congratulation both at home and abroad, not only because of stellar economic performance but also because, as some commentators believe, Ireland is a good society as well as a strong economy. In 2004, for example, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) forecast that in 2005 Ireland would be the world’s best country to live in — it scored the highest of 111 countries around the world on a quality-of-life index compiled on the basis of nine separate indicators, only one of which — Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita — was economic in the strict sense. Compared to other rich countries, according to the EIU’s analysis, Ireland’s quality-of-life advantage lay primarily in two key social factors: its higher than average level of stability in family life (measured by its low divorce rate) and its stronger community participation (measured by a combination of church attendance and trade union participation). These family and community factors together accounted for about three-quarters of Ireland’s superiority on the quality-of-life index compared to the average for the EU-15 (Economist Intelligence Unit, 2004).
KeywordsGross Domestic Product Social Housing Church Attendance Economic Boom Irish Society
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