SDG 1 addresses poverty, aiming to end extreme poverty across the world by 2030. The goal focuses on providing adequate social protection to the poorest and most vulnerable groups, giving them equal economic rights and making them more resilient to financial shocks.
Summary of results
- Many data in this dashboard refer to 2021, as Dutch income and wealth statistics are mostly based on tax returns, which are not yet available for 2022.
- One trend in SDG 1 points to a decrease in well-being: the percentage of the Dutch population below the European poverty threshold is increasing.
- The medium-term trends (2015-2022) for average and median disposable income and median household wealth point to growing well-being.
- The – downward – trends in the percentage of children growing up in a low-income family, and the number of households in problem debt indicate increasing well-being.
- The trend changed for the share of the population who are worried about their financial future: the downward trend turned to a neutral one.
Dashboard and indicators
SDG 1 aims to eradicate all forms of poverty, not only the financial aspects but also the impact of poverty on people’s lives. The SDG agenda addresses social protection, equal economic rights and resilience of poor and vulnerable groups in particular. Obviously, poverty in the Netherlands is of a very different order than in the world’s poorest countries, and to reflect this, indicators have been added for the Dutch context. Dutch government policy focuses on preventing and reducing poverty and problem debt, devoting special attention to children living in poverty. The coronavirus crisis, the subsequent energy crisis and recent high inflation have made poverty-related problems all the more relevant.
The dashboard shows income trends in the Netherlands, the risk of income poverty or social exclusion, and how concerned people themselves are about their financial situation. To measure individual material well-being, standardised disposable income of the household the individual belongs to is used. Disposable income is the money people can use to spend, save or invest. If their income is too low, they will have to withdraw savings. Households with a low disposable income and little or no wealth have an increased risk of poverty. People in these households with no financial leeway and no work – or only a few hours of work – are also at risk of social exclusion. In addition to disposable income, the dashboard looks at how secure people think their livelihood is.
Units of some indicators are adjusted annually; monetary amounts in this edition of the monitor are expressed in constant prices with base year 2021.
According to the trends in this dashboard, well-being is moving in a positive direction. At the moment, all indicators but one point to rising or stable well-being in the period 2015-2022. However, few figures are yet available for 2022, because income data are largely based on tax returns. Added to this, it is difficult to measure the effects of the coronavirus crisis and the geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine on income, wealth and debt. Data for 2022 are available for the share of the population worried about their future finances. The trend for this indicator turned from downward to neutral.
Where the Dutch situation can be compared with that in other countries in Europe, the Netherlands is among the leaders or in the middle group.
Resources and opportunities
Resources and opportunities concern the financial means people have at their disposal and any available support, although no indicator is available for the latter. Here the picture is positive, with rising trends in 2015-2022 and high positions compared with other EU countries.
Average standardised disposable household income rose to 33.5 thousand euros in 2021; the trend is rising. Median disposable income also rose, but was lower (29.8 thousand euros) than the average because the highest incomes pull the average up. Here, too, the trend is rising. For both indicators the Netherlands has a high position in the European rankings. As well as income, wealth is also trending upwards. House prices, which increased substantially up to and including 2021, were an important factor in this increase. Median wealth of Dutch households was 87.4 thousand euros on 1 January 2021. The median is the middle value: half of households had less wealth, and half had more wealth.
The median year-on-year increase in purchasing power was 0.3 percent in 2021, the smallest increase in the last eight years. No purchasing power figures are available for 2022. Wages are the main source of income for many households. The average rise in collectively negotiated wages in 2022 (3.2 percent) trailed way behind the historic rise in consumer prices (10.0 percent). Wage contracts are usually negotiated for longer terms and often do not match inflation, but in 2022 the difference was remarkable.
Use refers to the use of various forms of financial support. For this category, no indicators are available that comply with the quality criteria of this report.
Outcomes here relate to the share of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Safe and affordable housing is viewed as a basic need. In January 2021, thirty out of every ten thousand people in the Netherlands aged 18 to 64 years were living on the streets, in basic homeless shelters or temporarily with family or friends. Men are relatively more at risk of becoming homeless. CBS has no information on older homeless people, as the over-65s are not included in the source data.
Compared with other EU countries, the share of the Dutch population in disadvantaged groups, at risk of poverty or who live in a household with little or no work is relatively small in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU, it was still as large as 16.1 percent in 2021. The trend in the share of the population living in a household with an income of less than 60 percent of medial disposable income (at-risk-of-poverty rate according to the EU poverty threshold) is rising, pointing to lower well-being. It was 14.5 percent of the population in 2022, one percentage point higher than in 2020. This puts the Netherlands in the EU middle group. As the indicator measures (low) income compared with others in the same country, it does not necessarily imply a low standard of living in absolute terms.
The trend for children growing up in poverty is decreasing: 6.6 percent of under-18s were in a household that has had an income under the low-income threshold for at least one year. In 2015, the beginning of the trend period, this was still as high as 9.2 percent.
Just over three percent of Dutch households have been having to get by on a low income for longer than four years. This share has remained constant in recent years. The percentage of households who are so financially stretched that they are registered as being in problem debt is showing a downward trend: it fell from 8.6 percent on 1 January 2015 to 7.4 percent on 1 January 2021. The tax authority resumed the collection of outstanding tax liabilities in 2021, after temporarily suspending collection at the end of 2020 because of the coronavirus crisis. There are no figures for registered problem debts on 1 January 2022, but there are signs that the number of households with an outstanding tax debt is rising again.
Subjective assessment refers to how people perceive the security of their livelihood. The percentage of people who say they are very concerned about their financial future rose to 28.6 in 2022. This is substantially higher than the 22.5 percent in 2021, and the trend has changed from downward to neutral. Inflation is high, but the labour market is favourable: unemployment is relatively low and relatively many job opportunities are available.