In the period 2000–2005, the share of economically independent persons remained the same, but the gender gap was narrowed down. The number of economically independent men decreased, while the number of economically independent women increased.
Share of economically independent men and women
No change in number of economically independent individuals
In 2005, nearly 11 million persons in the Netherlands were aged between 15 and 65. More than half of them (55 percent) were economically independent, the same proportion as in 2000.
Gender gap narrowed
The proportion of economically independent men decreased from 71 percent in 2000 to 68 percent in 2005. A reverse trend was observed among women: from 39 percent in 2000 to 42 percent in 2005, so the gap is narrowing.
Traditional role patterns partly account for the discrepancies among economically independent men and women. Many women reduce their working hours before they have reached the age of thirty or stop working altogether to care for their young child(ren), whereas the majority of men continue to work.
These gender-related role patterns are broken down as more women seek entrance to the labour market. As a result, the gap between economically independent men and women is narrowing.
Sharp increase in older population
There is also a lot of difference between the various age groups. Between 2000 and 2005, economic independence decreased among men and women under the age of 30, because unemployment rose during this period and young people were hit disproportionately hard. On top of that, the trend for young people is to study longer.
A reverse trend was observed in the 30 to 55-year-old population. Economic independence among males in this age group declined from 87 percent in 2000 to 85 percent in 2005, whereas economic independence among females in this age range increased from 46 to 52 percent over the same period.
Economic independence in the 55-64 age range increased markedly between 2000 and 2005. This applies to both men (from 51 to 57 percent) and women (from 15 to 23 percent).