Economic independence among men has deteriorated during the recession, but remained at the same level among women. According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), more than 65 percent of employed 15 to 64-year-olds had an income at social security level or higher in 2014, versus about 70 percent in 2007.
Within the space of one decade, the share of economically independent women has risen considerably, most rapidly between 2005 and 2008: from 42 to 47 percent. Subsequently, the share has increased only modestly, to 48 percent in 2014.
More than in the case of women, the percentage of financially self-reliant men is affected by the economic situation because men are more often employed in economically sensitive sectors. In years of economic prosperity, the share was 70 percent, but during the last recession (since 2009), the percentage fell to approximately 65 percent. On balance, the share of economically independent people in the Netherlands has risen from 55 percent in 2004 to 57 percent in 2014.
Gender gap narrowing
The gender gap with respect to economic independence was reduced over the past decade. Initially, the gap narrowed because more women entered the labour market and started to work longer hours (20-34 hours a week). The amount of women who do not reduce their working hours after having given birth to their first child is also growing. Since the crisis started, the gender gap is narrowed because fewer men participate on the labour market. Nevertheless, the number of economically independent men is still higher because, compared to women, they are more often employed on a full-time basis.
Increase among 30 to 54-year-old women
The growth in recent years of economically independent women is predominantly found in the age category 30-54. The higher participation rate on the labour market forced the share up from 43 to 51 percent. A growing number of women with a partner and underage children started working and became more economically independent. The gap between these women and young (un)married women without children is closing.
Between 2004 and 2014, fewer people under the age of 25 achieved economic independence, largely because more young people nowadays go into further training or education.
Rapid increase among over-55s
Economic independence increased significantly between 2004 and 2014 in men and women in the 55-64 age category: from 57 to 68 percent and from 21 to 41 percent respectively. Two factors play an important part in this respect: early retirement is actively discouraged and more women in the age category 55-64 are presently participating on the job market.