NI’s exchequer transfers make us a more prosperous society than the south…

Interesting report from Maynooth finds that Northern Ireland is more prosperous than Ireland, indeed DUP run Castlereagh leads the affluence league for the whole island followed by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, North Down, Antrim and Lisburn….

Carl O’Brien in the Irish Times reports:

Unemployment levels across many parts of Northern Ireland, for example, are half the rates south of the Border.

The North also has a much more even spread of affluence right across the six counties, whereas well-off areas in the Republic are mostly confined to major cities and their commuter belts.

Rural areas of the South are much more likely to suffer from extremes of deprivation, such as high unemployment, a falling population and poor levels of education.

By drawing on census data collected from both sides of the Border in 2011, researchers have been able to map the distribution of affluence and deprivation across the island, right down to street level.

Specifically they isolate a split in the republic between urban prosperity and rural poverty…

People with high levels of education, prestigious occupations and a high social-class position appeared to be able to live in more rural areas in the North and commute to work in an urban centre.

In the Republic, however, rural or peripheral areas were much more likely to suffer from the extremes of deprivation, such as falling populations, poor education levels and high unemployment.

“The hinterland in the North is better connected to the main population centres,” he said, “so you can afford to have a concentration of jobs or services in a few urban areas, while keeping it accessible for the rest.

“That link is broken in the South. There are vast areas which are not just rural, but deprived as well. They don’t have the kind of connections to job opportunities, career prospects or essential services.

“With the closure of banks, post offices and Garda stations, you have a spiral effect. The more it happens, the less they become attractive or sustainable places to live.”

Mr Haase added: “You are seeing the effects of 30 or 40 years of migration. If you have people leaving, there is a thinning out of the working-age population, or a brain drain.”

IN fact, you could probably take that period and double or triple it. As the Techies like to say, migration is a feature not a bug in the Irish system. The data poses some real questions, not least the social effects of Ireland’s long term commitment to the small open economy model.

And also, perhaps important questions about Northern Ireland’s capacity to sustain extraordinarily high levels of public subsidy in the context of a steadily falling economic tide?

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