More purchasing power for families with young children

© Mega D Youth Foundation
The median purchasing power of the population in the Caribbean Netherlands increased once again in 2016. The population of Saba enjoyed the largest increase with 4.8 percent. On Bonaire and St Eustatius, the increase was 1.9 percent and 2.4 percent respectively. On all three islands, the purchasing power of families with young children increased the most, due to the introduction of child benefit in 2016. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) based on new figures.

Ever since the first measurement in 2012, purchasing power on the three islands has increased year by year. When purchasing power increases, income growth exceeds the average price level and more goods and services can be purchased. Saba showed the strongest increase in purchasing power each year, except in 2015. In 2016, the increase was 4.8 percent, the largest increase ever. It concerns the median purchasing power development: for one half of the population, the purchasing power rose by 4.8 percent or more, whereas for the other half, the purchasing power grew less than 4.8 percent. In 2016, purchasing power fell for 34 percent of Saba’s citizens. On Bonaire and St Eustatius, purchasing power peaked in 2015 with 4.6 percent.

Purchasing power development, 2012 - 2016* (year-on-year % change)
 BonaireSt EustatiusSaba
* provisional figures

Largest increase for single-parent families with minor children

Partly because of the introduction of child benefit in 2016, purchasing power particularly improved for persons who are members of a family with young children. For single-parent families with only minor children, the purchasing power increased the most: on St Eustatius by 8.0 percent, on Bonaire by 6.9 percent and on Saba by 13.1 percent. Single persons and partners of couples without children on Bonaire experienced an average decrease in purchasing power of 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent respectively.

Purchasing power development by household composition, 2016* (year-on-year % change)
 BonaireSt EustatiusSaba
Single-person household-
Single-parent household5.26.76.8
Single parent, only minor children6.9813.1
Couple, without children-
Couple, with child(ren)3.125.7
Couple, only minor children3.62.76.5
Household comprising more persons, other1.92.33.3
* provisional figures

Also more purchasing power for the elderly on St Eustatius and Saba

On both St Eustatius and Saba, purchasing power increased for all age groups. Especially members of 60-plus households on St Eustatius and Saba witnessed an increase in their purchasing power, as a result of measures taken in 2016. For instance, General Law on Old Age Pension (AOV) benefits as well as the AOV allowance were raised (extra). In addition, as from 2016 persons who do not receive a full AOV benefit can receive supplementary AOV from social relief. On St Eustatius, the group of people aged 60 and over enjoyed an increase in AOV income of 6.9 percent and on Saba this increase was 5.1 percent. On Bonaire, the AOV benefits remained unchanged and prices increased, as a result of which this group suffered a decrease in purchasing power of 0.5 percent.

Purchasing power development by age group, 2016* (year-on-year % change)
 BonaireSt EustatiusSaba
under 40 yrs4.13.33.5
40 to 59 yrs20.45
60 yrs or older-
* provisional figures

Also more purchasing power for people in employment

The purchasing power of people in employment increased on all three islands in 2016. Saba showed the largest increase with 3.7 percent. Bonaire and St Eustatius followed with 2.3 and 1.6 percent respectively. On St Eustatius and Saba, the purchasing power of benefit recipients increased as well. Like the AOV benefits, Widow and Orphans Act General Insurance BES (AWW) and social relief benefits were raised (extra), boosting purchasing power. On St Eustatius, the purchasing power of benefit recipients rose by 8.9 percent and on Saba this increase was 7.4 percent. The benefits were not raised on Bonaire. This is part of the reason why purchasing power fell by 0.5 percent on this island.

Highest increase in purchasing power for lowest incomes

Purchasing power increased for all income groups in 2016. On St Eustatius, the purchasing power of the lowest incomes rose by 8.0 percent and on Saba this increase was 6.6 percent. For Bonaire’s residents, the increase was considerably lower with 2.2 percent. Households with the highest income experienced an increase in purchasing power on Saba in particular. Half of this group saw an increase of 3.3 percent or more, whereas 29 percent suffered a decrease in purchasing power.

Purchasing power development by income group, 2016* (year-on-year % change)
 BonaireSt EustatiusSaba
1st quartile (low income)2.286.6
2nd quartile2.12.13
3rd quartile1.50.66.2
4th quartile (high income)
* provisional figures