St Eustatius: improved purchasing power in 2015

© Cees Timmers
The purchasing power of St Eustatius’ local population improved in 2015 with a median increase of 4.4 percent, the highest in the Caribbean Netherlands. People in employment and benefit recipients saw their spending power improve by 4.3 and 4.5 percent respectively. At 8.4 percent, couples with children saw the highest purchasing power improvement.

On St Eustatius, purchasing power improvements weakened between 2012 (when it was measured for the first time) and 2014, but became stronger in 2015 with a 4.4 percent increase. Not everyone on St Eustatius benefited from this increase; in the same year, 38 percent of the population lost purchasing power.

Purchasing power development for private household members, 2012 - 2015*
 Total (% year-to-year change)Employed persons (% year-to-year change)Benefit recipients (% year-to-year change)

More spending power for people in work

Purchasing power developments in households whose main income is from work or their own business in both years for which purchasing power is calculated, follow a pattern similar to that seen among the overall population. After years of levelling off, their spending power rose by 4.3 percent in 2015. Households depending mainly on social security in both these years saw a median increase of 4.5 percent, compensating for the decline in purchasing power one year previously.

Couples with children benefit the most

In 2015, people in single-person and multi-person households gained 4.5 and 4.2 percent in spending power respectively. Couples with children saw the most positive effects with spending power up 8.4 percent.

Purchasing power development for private household members by household composition, 2015*
 Purchasing power development (% year-to-year change)
Single-person household4.5
Multi-person household4.2
One-parent household2.7
Couples, total4.5
Couples, without children4.2
Couples, with children8.4
Multi-person household n.e.c.1.7

Marked rise in spending power younger age groups

In 2015, Statian households in all age categories saw their purchasing power improve. The sharpest rise was seen among people in the age category up to 40 years. These are the people who are still moving up the career ladder. As they gain more work experience and find better paid jobs, their wages increase. In 2015, their median spending power increase was 7.2 percent. Middle-aged households saw purchasing power increase less sharply, by 3 percent. For the older households whose primary source of income is AOV (local old age insurance benefit), the purchasing power improvement was equal to the income increase in real terms.

Purchasing power development for private household members by age group, 2015*
 Purchasing power development (% year-to-year change)
Main breadwinner younger than 40 years7.2
Main breadwinner aged 40 to 59 years3
Main breadwinner aged 60 years and older4.5

Highest incomes benefit most

In all income groups, purchasing power rose in 2015. The wealthiest households gained the most at 8.3 percent. Nevertheless, 30 percent of people in these households lost purchasing power.

Purchasing power development for private household members by income group, 2015*
 Purchasing power development (% year-to-year change)
1st quartile (low income)4.2
2nd quartile1.2
3rd quartile4.2
4th quartile (high income)8.3