Housing and energy costs weigh heavy on lowest incomes

Housing costs constitute the most significant part of the average household budget. Proportionally, the lowest income brackets spend most on housing. In relative terms, higher income households spend more on education and recreation.

Housing costs make up largest part of household budget

Last year, the average Dutch household spent nearly 31.4 thousand euro. With nearly 24 percent, housing costs and home and garden maintenance costs make up the largest part, followed by traffic and transport costs (17 percent).

Household spending pattern, 2008

Household spending pattern, 2008

Food, education and leisure activities each account for nearly 16 percent of household spending. Personal hygiene and medical care account for 7 percent, clothes and shoes for 6 percent, heating and lighting also for 6 percent. Households spend the smallest part of their budget (5 percent) on furnishings.

Housing costs largest expenditure item for low-income households

With 29 percent, the share households included in the lowest income category spend on housing and home maintenance is markedly higher than the share spent by households in the highest income bracket (21 percent), but lower income households more often receive compensation in the form of a rent rebate. Energy costs also constitute a higher proportion of the low-income household’s budget.

Household spending by income category, 2008

Household spending by income category, 2008

High incomes spend more on education and leisure activities

In the highest income bracket, education and recreation together constitute the second largest (18 percent) expenditure on the household budget. They spend much more on sports, recreational activities and holidays than their low-income counterparts.

Budget share spent on food hardly differs

The share spent on food and drinks is largely the same across all income categories: approximately 16 percent, so higher incomes spend much more on food and drinks than lower incomes. The reason is that the latter buy more expensive articles and more often tend to dine out.

Carin van der Ploeg