Fewer households rely on benefits for a long period of time

22/12/2011 15:00

Last year, 855 thousand Dutch households were dependent on benefits for a sustained period of time, i.e. nearly 40 thousand fewer than in 2009. The total number of households living on benefits amounted to 1.6 million. Single-parent families with only underage children and households with non-western breadwinners relatively often live on benefits for a long period of time.

Proportion of benefit-dependent households

Proportion of benefit-dependent households

Long-term dependency for 855 thousand households

More than one in five in a total of nearly 7.4 million Dutch households lived on benefits in 2010. Part of their gross incomes consisted of unemployment, social security or disability benefits. More than one in ten (855 thousand households) had lived on benefits for four years or more. Since 2006, when 979 thousand households were depending on benefits for their livelihood, the number has gradually fallen.

Share of households depending on benefits for 40 percent or more

Share of households depending on benefits for 40 percent or more

One in ten households largely depend on benefits

One in ten households in the Netherlands for the most part lived on benefits in 2010, i.e. benefits made up 40 percent or more of their gross incomes. Over half of these households were in a situation of long-term benefit dependency.

Sustained benefit dependency by composition of the household

Sustained benefit dependency by composition of the household

Single-parent families and non-western households most often depend on benefits for a long period of time

In 2010, nearly 16 percent of single-parent families with only underage children lived almost entirely on benefits. The proportion for all households living almost entirely on benefits was more than 5 percent. Proportionally, under-65 singles and families with non-western breadwinners also often relied on benefits in 2010.

In the period 2004-2010, benefit dependency was seriously reduced for nearly all types of households. The most dramatic reduction by 7 percentage points was found among single-parent families with only underage children. The reduction is partly due to the higher labour market participation rate in this category.

John Michiels