In the period 2001–2005, two in every three 15 to 64-year-olds receiving social security had a low level of education, implying that they did not have a starter qualification, nearly twice as many as in the total population in that age category.
Only about 7 percent of social security claimants had graduated from higher education.
Level of education of persons aged 15 to 64
Nearly half of (married) couples have only primary education
More than one in three social security claimants are single. This group also includes most higher educated: in 2005, 10 percent had completed higher vocational or university education. The lowest education level is found among (married) couples. The highest level of education of about 45 percent of them did not go beyond primary school. The group of single parents, more than 95 percent of whom are mothers with children, has the lowest number of highly educated.
Level of education is gender and age-related
Approximately six in ten social security recipients in the 15-64 age bracket are women. Their level of education is slightly lower than that of their male counterparts. From the age of 45, the percentage of low-educated increases sharply among women. The same applies to men over the age of 55. In the age group 60-64, about half of social security claimants have primary school as their highest level of education, as against approximately 20 percent in the entire population.
Moroccan and Turkish social security claimants are often low-educated
Save age and gender, the level of education of social security recipients also depends on their ethnic background. Moroccan and Turkish social security claimants, for example, have a very low education level. Over half of them have no more than primary school compared to about 40 percent of the total population.
Low-educated social security recipients aged between 15 and 64 by ethnic background, 2005
Low-educated people longer on social security
The benefit duration period is longest for low-educated people. In 2005, nearly half of recipients whose highest level of education is primary school were on social security for a period of at least five years, as against 35 percent of highly educated. Irrespective of education level, the benefit dependency period was shortest for young people.
Social security recipients aged between 15 and 64 by benefit duration period, 2005
Andrea Annema, Frank Linder and Muirne Paap