For obvious reasons, health is closely linked with well-being: poor health often goes hand in hand with lower levels of well-being and can cause problems at work, in terms of social activities, and it can have consequences for suitable housing, for example. To describe the distribution of health in various groups of the population, we use the indicator self-perceived health, i.e. how healthy people say they feel. Further information on the health of the Dutch population can be found on StatLine (CBS, 2023).
Situation in 2022
People’s perception of their own health has proven to be a good indicator of their general state of health. The specific perception outcome we use here is the percentage of people who assess their own health as good or very good. In 2022, 77.2 percent of the Dutch population reported their own health as being good or very good.
- Relatively more men than women say their health is good or very good. This tallies with the fact that more women than men suffer from chronic illness, physical disabilities and pain-related limitations (CBS, 2023).
- The percentage of people who perceive their own health as good or very good decreases with age. Up to and including the 25- to 34-year group, people are more likely than average to judge their health positively, while people in the 55-and-older age groups are less likely to do so. Older people are also more likely to have health problems such as chronic illness, physical impairments and pain-related limitations.
- Higher educated people are more likely than average to report being in good or very good health, while for the lower educated group this is well below average.
- People born in the Netherlands, irrespective of where their parents were born, are more positive than average about their own health. People born outside Europe are less positive than average.
Sex, age, education level and origin/country of birth may correlate with each other. People with lower education levels, for example, are on average older than people with higher education levels. For the measurements conducted in this analysis, these relations are taken into account by applying a standardisation procedure, which corrects for the variation in the occurrence of the above characteristics. On the basis of standardised figures, the difference in self-perceived health between higher educated and lower educated people is smaller. But also on the basis of these figures, self-perceived health of lower educated people remains relatively low and that of higher educated people remains relatively high. Self-perceived health of people born in the Netherlands with one or both parents born outside Europe is substantially less favourable after standardisation. One reason for this is that this group comprises relatively many young people. After standardisation self-perceived health for this group, and for the group of people born in the Netherlands with one/both parents born in Europe, is no longer above average. The remaining statistically significant differences between groups described above remain intact after standardisation.
Changes between 2019 and 2022
In 2022 the proportion of people describing their own health as good or very good was 1.5 percentage points lower than in 2019. Compared with this decrease for the population as a whole, the following groups show different developments:
- Self-perceived health for people with higher education levels changed relatively unfavourably, with a fall of 3.1 percentage points.
- For people born in the Netherlands with at least one parent born in Europe (excl. the Netherlands), self-perceived health changed relatively favourably, with an increase of 4.7 percentage points.
CBS, 2016, Gezondheid, relaties en werk belangrijker voor geluk dan geld. Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek, The Hague/Heerlen/Bonaire.
CBS, 2023, Gezondheid en zorggebruik; persoonskenmerken