Dublin 26th February 2015: Our sister organisation, The Community Foundation for Ireland, one of the country’s leading philanthropic organisations, on February 26th published a report entitled Ireland’s VitalSigns 2015 that grades the satisfaction of life in Ireland. Over 1,200 people living in Ireland completed the citizens’ survey, rating Public Transport Services most important out of the 115 key social indicators presented. Ireland’s VitalSigns, a report card on the vitality of the nation is published every two years, and grades twelve key areas that affect the quality of life of those who live, work, play and learn in Ireland. The report combines the survey results with published factual data and expert leaders’ opinions to create a holistic view of life in Ireland today. Originating in Canada, Ireland became the first European country to gauge public sentiment of the standard of living within a nation using this method in 2013.
The report grades each area on a scale of A-F, similar to a school report card. Ireland maintained an overall grading of C+ for satisfaction with life in Ireland. This compares well with Toronto which also scored a C+ but is slightly lower than Victoria which scored a B-. The areas that people are most satisfied with are Arts and Culture, which maintains it B- rating from 2013, and Learning which increased from a C+ to a B-. The areas that decreased in grade from 2013 were housing from C- to D+, Inclusive Society from a C to a C- and Older People that also dropped from a C+ to a C. Housing scored the lowest and over 1,000 individual comments were received from the public looking to voice their concerns in this area. The three priorities that people highlighted in this area were homelessness, availability of rental housing and cost of renting.
Speaking at the report launch, Tina Roche, CEO, The Community Foundation for Ireland added:
“The better we understand our communities, the better equipped we are to make decisions and take action to improve them. Ireland’s VitalSigns 2015 tells us what makes Ireland vibrant and what we have to celebrate. The report also highlights a number of gaps and challenges that we are facing. Identifying the areas that need improving and are most important to people, it provides us with an opportunity to create change and have a positive impact. ” Roche added:
“In recent years a global movement on well-being has been developing which aims to encourage social change and to empower citizens. Research indicates that compiling measures of wellbeing can help governments focus on what matters to people as well as informing community and voluntary organisations, businesses and individuals. The VitalSigns report is an essential resource to measure trends, progress and gaps in Irish society and to inform The Community Foundation for Ireland’s CFI’s donors in deciding how to optimise their charitable giving. We hope that other organisations, academics, key influencers and decision makers, as well as individuals will harness the knowledge from VitalSigns to address and bridge the gaps in our society.”
Ireland’s VitalSigns 2015 is a multi-dimensional report that reflects public perception, factual data and Community leaders’ perceptions. Capturing both hard facts and lived experience. In total, there are 115 indicators for people to voice their opinion on and these are divided amongst the following 12 issue areas – Arts and Culture, Learning, Safety, Strong Communities, Environment, Getting Around, Children and Young People, Older People, Inclusive Society, Work Equality and Financial Wellbeing, Housing and Health and Wellbeing.
The addition of demographic questions in the 2015 VitalSigns report further indicates people’s priorities from the perspective of age, gender, geographical location and employment status. Results revealing that the 75+ age group is the most satisfied with life in Ireland, the least satisfied age group being 45-54 year olds. Ireland became the first country outside of Canada to capture the viewpoints of 18-25 year olds this year with the introduction this year of Youth VitalSigns. It indicates that Getting around is an area of priority for 18-25 year old. Geographically Munster is the least satisfied region with Connaught being the most satisfied region in Ireland.
Out of the 115 options that people were presented with the following were top ten most important issues for those living in Ireland today and they reflect a clear focus on the future of the country:
1. Public Transport Services
2. Quality of the education system
4. Early Childhood Development
5. Mobility and transport of older people
6. Literacy Levels
7. Affordability of everyday life
8. Home life of older people
9. Air Quality
The Community Foundation for Ireland, a philanthropic and grant making organisation undertakes VitalSigns to use the feedback to inform strategic decisions on grants and to focus grant making where it can achieve the most impact.