Purchasing power declined on St Eustatius in 2014

On average, the purchasing power on St Eustatius fell by 0.8 percent in 2014, whereas Bonaire and Saba saw purchasing power improve by 1.2 and 2.7 percent respectively, according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS). The changes are consistent with the contracting economy on St Eustatius and the economic growth on Bonaire, as CBS reported earlier.

On Bonaire, purchasing power rose by 3.2 percent in 2012, on St Eustatius and Saba by no less than 4.5 and 4.6 percent respectively. In 2013, purchasing power on all three islands rose less rapidly. Subsequently, the decline levelled off on Bonaire and Saba, but continued to fall on St Eustatius and even dipped below zero in 2014.

Purchasing power
 BonaireSt EustatiusSaba

More purchasing power for people in work

Household members who were employed or self-employed in 2013 and 2014, saw their purchasing power improve in 2014. On Bonaire, the increase was 1.9 percent, on Saba 2.1 percent, but on St Eustatius only 0.1 percent. The purchasing power of benefits recipients living on Bonaire also improved in 2013 and 2014 (0.3 percent), as opposed to St Eustatius, where they faced a 0.9 percent loss of purchasing power. Benefits in the Caribbean Netherlands include social security benefits, pensions paid to widows and orphans and old age pensions. Statistical data on the purchasing power of benefit recipients on Saba are not available.

Purchasing power varies with age

On all three islands in the Caribbean Netherlands, persons living in households with a main breadwinner under the age of 40 saw their purchasing power improve in 2014. Most of them are still moving up the career ladder and their incomes are rising as they gain more work experience and qualify for better paid jobs. The purchasing power of people in this age category rose by 1.6 percent, versus 2.8 percent on Bonaire and Saba. Unlike on Saba, where older age groups also gained purchasing power, 40 to 59-year-olds and over-60s on St Eustatius had to cope with considerable loss of purchasing power.

Purchasing power by age category, 2014
 BonaireSt EustatiusSaba
Person in household
with main breadwinner younger than 40 yrs
Person in household
with main breadwinner aged 40-59 yrs
Person in households
with main breadwinner aged 60 yrs and older

The purchasing power of households with underage children on Bonaire and Saba rose by 3.0 and 2.8 percent respectively, on St Eustatius by 0.2 percent.

Purchasing power by household composition, 2014
 BonaireSt EustatiusSaba
Person in household
without underage children
Person in household
with underage children

Lower incomes on St Eustatius lose purchasing power

On St Eustatius, people in the 75 percent lowest income brackets lost purchasing power, whereas the quarter in the highest income brackets gained 1.5 percent. On Bonaire all income groups saw their purchasing power increase and the increase was income-related: higher incomes gained more purchasing power than lower incomes. On Saba, on the other hand, the lowest 25 percent of incomes gained most purchasing power (5.2 percent). This is partly due to an additional increase in minimum wages and benefits on Saba in 2014. Saba’s highest incomes gained only 0.3 percent.

Purchasing power by income quartile group, 2014
 BonaireSt EustatiusSaba
Person in household
with income in 1st quartile
Person in household
with income in 2nd quartile
Person in household
with income in 3rd quartile
Person in household
with income in 4th quartile