Dutch income levels vary considerably

13/09/2005 14:00

Households in the Netherlands had an average 28 thousand euro to spend in 2003. The distribution of household income is very uneven, however. Only one in six households who depend on a pension or benefit for their income had an above average income. The highest average incomes were in households with breadwinners aged 50 to 55 years.

Highest income from labour and own enterprise

There were nearly 7 million households in the Netherlands in 2003. They had an average disposable income of 28 thousand euro. Most households in the higher income classes have labour or own enterprise as the source of their income: 16 percent of households which depended on pension or benefits for their income had an income of more than 28 thousand euro, while for households with income from labour or own enterprises this was 55 percent.

Households by main source of income, 2003

Households by main source of income, 2003

Multi-person households high up on the income ladder

The level of income is related to the number of people in the household who have an income. Multi-person households had on average 9 thousand euro extra to spend for every additional person with income. 

Therefore multi-person households are relatively frequently found in the higher income classes. More than 93 percent of the nearly 3 million households with a disposable income of more than 28 thousand euro consisted of more than one person.

Average income by number of household members with income, 2003

Average income by number of household members with income, 2003

Highest incomes for 50 to 55 year-olds

Income levels change during the life course. Younger people experience substantial increases in income as they get better(paid) jobs or their wages are increased because of age or experience. At older ages people stop work or work part-time, which leads to a reduction in income levels. The highest average incomes are those in households with a breadwinner aged between 50 and 55 years. This group and the two flanking age groups are indeed relatively strongly represented among the high incomes.

Average income by age of main breadwinner, 2003

Average income by age of main breadwinner, 2003

Wim Bos