Saint Vincent De Paul has said the publication of Pobal's Deprivation Index confirms the charity's experience that small towns were the hardest hit during the recession.
“SVP volunteers in small town and more rural areas are still seeing the consequences of job loss, cut back in services, emigration and austerity for struggling households," said SVP National President Kieran Stafford.
"These communities are unable to take advantage of the recent economic improvements due to poor social infrastructure, such as a lack of public transport, broadband and key services.”
SVP said the data also shows that those in disadvantaged communities in urban areas, saw further increases in deprivation in the past number of years.
For example, between 2011 and 2016, a number of communities in Limerick have moved from being categorised as ‘very disadvantaged’ to ‘extremely disadvantaged’.
“There is a real danger, that without a concerted effort to tackle entrenched poverty, entire communities will continue to be left behind.” Mr Stafford said.
A separate report published by the ESRI, shows that while all families were impacted by the recession, in absolute terms, one parent families experienced the greatest increase in economic stress.
“One parent families are the largest group assisted by SVP and we have seen first-hand the impact austerity and recession has had on one parent families," said SVP Head of Social Justice and Policy Dr Tricia Keilthy
"The cuts and changes to the One Parent Family Payment has also made parenting alone more difficult and created additional barriers to education and employment.
“It is critical that the new National Action for Social Inclusion has a specific target with supporting actions to reduce poverty rates in one parent households.” she said
Small rural towns in Ireland have been hit hardest by the recession, but the most disadvantaged areas in the country are in our cities.
That is a key finding of a report, which says communities that are furthest from major towns tend to be poorer.
The Pobal HP Deprivation Index says rural towns with populations under 5,000 are benefiting less from the economic recovery.
The online report includes a street-by-street map of income levels across the country.
The map reveals that St Mary's Park in Limerick is the most disadvantaged area in Ireland, while Darndale in Dublin is classified as very disadvantaged.
Dublin 2, which includes Merrion Square and Grafton Street, is identified as the most affluent.
Where you live has a long-term impact on how well you do economically.
Income levels are continuing to grow much more strongly in Dublin than other parts of the country.
The study found that Dublin is financially better off than the rest of the country.
Key findings from the 2016 Pobal HP Deprivation index
- Affluence is highest in the urban peripheries and gradually declines one moves towards rural locations.
- Dublin has fared the best over the past 10 years, being less impacted by the effects of the recession, as well as disproportionately benefitting from the recent years of recovery.
- Small towns (1,000 – 5,000 people) have been the worst affected over the past ten years, being disproportionately hit by the recession and benefitting less from the recovery than the most urban and the most rural areas.
- Analysis of the index points towards the importance of proximity and access to urban centres as being of greatest importance for rural areas.
- In relative terms, the geographic distribution of disadvantage and affluence remains largely the same. Reinforcing the findings of previous research, that disadvantage is a long-term, geographically entrenched phenomenon.
Spokesman Martin Quigley says there's very little change overall.
"The areas of highest affluence and highest disadvantage are largely those areas that were of highest disadvantage and affluence in previous census waves.
"While there has been some movement, in general, what we have found is social disadvantage is a long-term and geographically entrenched phenomenon."
Speaking at the launch Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring T.D., said “The publication of the new updated Pobal HP Deprivation Index takes account of the significant changes experienced throughout the country since 2011.
"The Taoiseach established the Department of Rural and Community Development in response to the impact of the recession on rural Ireland and to ensure the recovery reaches every part of Ireland.
"The index provides further proof of the need for the investments my Department is providing to our rural communities and to our towns and villages.
"The index has enabled us to more effectively target resources and services at the most disadvantaged and is a vital tool for so many Government Departments, including my own, as well as many State Agencies."