Sixteen percent of the population was at risk of poverty in 2011, compared to 14.7% the previous year, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The 2011 rate was the same as in 2007 and the figure has been between 18.5% and 14.1% for six years.

According to the CSO figures, those most at risk of poverty were living in rented or rent-free accommodation and where there was no one at work.

It says the consistent poverty rate in 2011 was 6.9%. The figures are contained in the CSO's Survey on Income and Living Conditions.

The CSO says that in 2011 almost a quarter of the population, 24.5%, experienced two or more types of enforced deprivation.

The CSO's analysis by sociodemographic characteristics showed that individuals with the highest level of educational attainment or third level degree or higher continue to have the highest average income.