About Us


This Minimum Income Standard calculator (MISc) makes the Minimum Essential Stand of Living (MESL) work of the VPSJ readily accessible to the general public, and readily applicable to real household situations.

Since 2004 the VPSJ has undertaken work establishing the expenditure necessary for a MESL for a range of household types. This work establishes a consensus on what members of the public believe is a minimum standard that no individual or household should live below. Working with focus groups, the minimum goods and services that everyone needs for a MESL are identified. With a focus on needs not wants, the concern is with more than survival as a MESL is a standard of living which meets physical, psychological and social needs, at a minimum but acceptable level.

The joint VPSJ TCD study, A Minimum Income Standard for Ireland (2012), establishes the income necessary to afford this standard of living, for a broad range of model household types; providing the data at the core of this calculator.

In mid 2012 the VPSJ completed further research reviewing the core MESL baskets and extending the dataset. This research involved returning to focus groups to examine how attitudes have changed towards what is required for a MESL between 2006 and 2012; and making adjustments to the MESL basket of goods and services to reflect these changes. Furthermore, the additional and different needs of households with more than two children were also examined. This has enabled an expansion of the data to cover households with up to four children. This VPSJ research note provides further details on the review and expansion; updated detailed individualised budget sheets are also available.

It is intended to ensure the Minimum Income Standard calculator remains relevant by updating the Income and Expenditure data periodically.

  • Income data is scheduled to be updated in the first quarter of each year
  • Expenditure data is scheduled to be updated in the second quarter of each year