Prosperity increased in last decades

  • Households have one quarter more to spend than 33 years ago
  • Purchasing power declining after years of growth
  • Income inequality almost unchanged in last 10 years
  • Households have less capital than in 2008
  • Rich people are happier and have healthier lifestyles

The disposable income of Dutch households was 33.2 thousand euro on average in 2010. Taking into account inflation and the increasingly smaller sizes of households, an average household now has one quarter more to spend than in 1977. Not counting business cycle ups and downs, household income has gradually increased in these three decades. Couples without children or with adult children have more income on average than other couples. Single-parent families have the lowest incomes, especially those with young children.

The publication Welvaart in Nederland (Prosperity in the Netherlands; published in Dutch only) has been compiled to mark the 25th anniversary of Statistics Netherlands’ income panel survey, one of the mainstays of its household and personal prosperity statistics. This special edition presents the most recent national and regional figures on aspects of prosperity, such as income, capital and spending. It also examines long-term trends. Special attention is paid to groups at the top and at the bottom of the prosperity ladder.

Purchasing power down in 2012 after years of increase

Broadly in line with the developments in the economy, the purchasing power of the Dutch population has risen almost continuously in the last 25 years. The peak in 2001 was mainly the effect of the tax reforms in that year. In 2010, however, purchasing power fell by 0.5 percent, the largest decrease since 1985. Pensioners, in particular, were affected by a loss of purchasing power of 1.0 percent. Employees and the self-employed were able to retain their level of purchasing power. The self-employed, whose purchasing power had deceased by 1.1 percent in 2009, were not able to improve their income situations and remained at a lower level than one year previously. Households claiming income support were the only group whose purchasing power improved in 2010.

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