Census data shows 9,000+ ‘stay at home mums and dads’ in Co. Wicklow

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In Census 2022, 9,267 people in Wicklow recorded their principal economic status as ‘looking after the home or family’ – the vast majority of whom were women.

Hot on the heels of the new CSO data, Royal London Ireland have released their own research which found that more than nine in ten people (92pc) in Ireland underestimate the monetary value of stay-at-home parents to varying degrees.

Of the 1,000 adults surveyed in the annual Stay-at-Home Parent Survey commissioned by Royal London Ireland, one of the leading life insurance and pensions companies in Ireland, only 8pc valued the cost to employ someone to perform the duties of a stay-at-home parent at over €50k, while Royal London Ireland’s research, which is based on real-world wage data, found that, in reality, the cost to employ someone to do the ‘duties’ performed by stay-at-home mams and dads would be an estimated €54,590 per annum – up from €53,480 in 2022.

Survey participants estimated the potential salary of a stay-at-home parent at an average of €30,547 in 2023 – an increase of €2,087 or 7.3pc compared to 2022.

Three times as many women as men who took part in the survey correctly estimated that it would cost more than €50k (13pc vs. 4pc).

Philip McGoldrick of Royal London Ireland Wicklow commented: “Each year we ask the same question and each year we’ve found that most people underestimate the likely ‘salary’ of a stay-at-home mam or dad. This year, survey participants estimated the potential ‘salary’ of the stay-at-home parent at an average of €30,547 per year, which although up by €2,087 or 7.3pc on the 2022 figureis still well below the €54,590 that we calculated for the role. While the role of the stay-at-home parent is often described as ‘priceless’, it is interesting to see how some people can misconceive the role of a stay-at-home parent and the financial cost.”

Royal London Ireland’s calculations reveal that the estimated annual cost to employ someone to fulfil these stay-at-home parent duties is €54,590.

Mr McGoldrick remarked: “The work done by stay-at-home parents is often referred to as “invisible labour” because it takes place within the home and is not as visible or measurable as paid work outside the home. Interestingly, our evaluation of what it would cost to employ someone to perform the duties of a stay-at-home parent was 79pc greater than the salary estimated by our respondents at €30,547. That highlights just how many people may not be fully aware of the multifaceted responsibilities made by stay-at-home mams and dads”.

Census 2022 data also revealed that although the number of women looking after the family home is falling (from 653,398 in 1986 to 244,823 in 2022), the number of men in the same role is growing (from 445 in 1986 to 27495 in 2022);

Mr McGoldrick concluded, “It’s understandable that, without doing the calculations, many people, particularly those without children, may not accurately estimate what the cost would be to replace the stay-at-home parent.  An accurate evaluation of this cost, from a financial planning perspective, is an important figure to contemplate by every family. If something were to happen to a stay-at-home parent, stopping them from be able to carry out this vital role, or if they were to pass away unexpectedly, their loved ones could be left with a large financial gap to fill during what would already be a very difficult time. And while money can never replace a parent, having adequate financial protection in place can help provide families with a financial safety net to meet some of these parenting costs.

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