Detailed Itemised MESL Baskets

The itemised MESL baskets are available in this section. The baskets detail the minimum requirements of each household type, providing an itemised breakdown of the costed goods and services required.

The contents of the MESL baskets are periodically reviewed with deliberative focus groups, to ensure they continue to reflect a social consensus on what is required to enable an acceptable minimum standard of living. The basket iterations resulting from each periodic review, from 2012 onwards, are available.

To quantify the cost of individuals and households minimum needs the MESL dataset is comprised of a set of costed itemised baskets of goods and services. The MESL establishes the minimum needs of six broad household types:

  • Two Parent household types, with 1 to 4 children
  • One Parent household types, with 1 to 4 children
  • Single Adults, of working age
  • Cohabiting Couple, working age
  • Pensioner, living alone
  • Pensioner Couple

There are budgets for Urban and Rural based households, and the MESL data differentiates between the needs of working-age adults, older adults, households with dependent children and without.

For households with children, the minimum needs are established for four distinct stages of childhood, and further adjustments for families with three and four children are also provided. The full household budget for a household with children is compiled by combining the parental budget, child age-group budget(s) and if required the adjustments for a third and fourth child.

The MESL data is focused on single family-unit households, households comprised of either a single adult or a couple, and any dependent children. This covers approximately 90% of household compositions in urban and rural Ireland.

The MESL expenditure needs dataset is highly flexible, a total of 142 distinct household compositions may be examined within the core MESL dataset. This is through the multiple permutations of households with children (both age-group and number of children), and also differentiating between the needs of working-age and older adults.

Details are provided for each item, including quantity required and expected lifespan in weeks, the unit price and weekly cost are also included. The weekly cost of each item is calculated by dividing the unit cost of the number of items required by the number of weeks it is expected to last. For example an adults winter coat is expected to last two years, therefore its unit price is divided by 104 (the number of weeks in two years) to arrive at the weekly expenditure required to enable the purchase of this item.