In most of the large Dutch cities, the average income was lower than in the surrounding municipalities in 2004. These differences did decrease between 1996 and 2004. Amsterdam caught up most with its surrounding municipalities. Enschede, Leeuwarden and Heerlen are the least prosperous conurbations.
Largest income difference in Rotterdam
The average income in Rotterdam is around 10 percent lower than in the surrounding municipalities. In Utrecht and The Hague, too, the differences in income are large. With the exception of Breda and Apeldoorn, other central cities are less prosperous than their neighbouring municipalities. The lower levels of income are the result of the long process of suburbanisation, in which many inhabitants with higher incomes moved out of the cities and went to live in the surrounding areas.
Income differences within conurbations, 2004
Between 1996 and 2004 the negative difference between most central cities and their surrounding areas did decrease. The income of city inhabitants rose relatively strongly during the economic boom around the turn of the century. Among other things these higher incomes were the result of lower unemployment. The recent decrease in the number of non-western immigrants, who often have lower incomes, also played a part. Lastly, it seems as if a number of cities are succeeding in keeping inhabitants with higher incomes within their borders.
Decrease in income differences between central cities and surrounding areas 1996 and 2004
Least prosperous conurbations outside the Randstad area
The least prosperous central cities are Enschede, Heerlen and Leeuwarden. Their relative income position did not improve between 1996 and 2004. In addition, the municipalities around these cities are also the least prosperous.
The area around Utrecht was the most prosperous conurbation, with an income level 12 percent above the national average. Leiden is the richest central city.
Income position of city areas, 2004