The number of two-income couples in the Netherlands is growing. The number of couples in the age category 15–65 with two working partners has grown from 51 percent in 2005 to 57 percent in 2009. In absolute figures, more than 2 million households are involved. In most cases, male partners earn the highest wages.
Two-income households have highest disposable incomes
Two-income households have the highest disposable incomes. In 2009, their disposable incomes averaged nearly 50 thousand euro, i.e. well over 13 thousand euro more than the average Dutch household. The gap between double and single-income households was 8.5 thousand euro.
Average disposable household income by type of household, 2009*
Male partner usually earns highest income
In more than 80 percent of double-income households, the male partner is the one earning the highest income. One of the reasons is that most women have part-time jobs. If both partners work on a part-time basis, it is still the man who earns the highest income in 65 percent of cases. In more than 1 in 5 two-income households, both partners work on a full-time basis.
Young women more often earn highest income in the household than older women
The higher the age, the rarer it is for women to be the highest-income earner. For example, 43 percent of partners under the age of 25 earning the highest incomes are women versuss 14 percent of 55 to 65-year-olds.
Two-income households by age and gender of the partner earning the highest income, 2009*
If female partner has highest income, their wages are generally lower
If a woman earns most within a two-income household, their wages are on average lower than in two-income households where the man earns the highest income, also because more women tend to work part-time. The income gap increases with age and was on average 20 percent in 2009. If both partners within a two-income household work full-time, the gap is considerably smaller ((8 percent).
Average personal primary income by gender and age of the partner earning the highest income, 2009*
Linda Moonen and Lian Kösters