Most young adults positive about life

© Bert Spiertz
A very large majority of Dutch 18 to 24-year-olds are satisfied with their lives in general and with their social lives in particular: around 85 percent in 2016. Young adults who are currently enrolled in or who have completed higher education are often more positive than their lower educated peers. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on the Annual Report Youth Monitor 2017 (summary available in English).

(English subtitles available)  

These figures are derived from a survey held annually on social cohesion and well-being among young people aged 15 and over. In this survey, the respondents answer questions on topics such as their level of life satisfaction and feelings of loneliness. 

The percentage share of young adults who say they are satisfied with their lives is virtually equal to the average among the Dutch adult population (18 years and over). Life satisfaction is linked to several factors including the living situation, age and highest attained education level. Almost 8 in 10 young adults who are enrolled in or have completed lower-level education are satisfied with life, versus close to 9 in 10 of those with higher professional or university education levels. Satisfaction diminishes slightly as young adults grow older, and is highest among those cohabiting with a partner or at home with both parents.

Life satisfaction among 18 to 24-year-olds, 2013/'16
 DissatisfiedMore or less satisfiedSatisfied
Highest attained
education level


1 in 25 young adults dissatisfied with social life

A previous survey in 2016 on well-being among young people shows that life satisfaction is related to a number of partial aspects such as the circle of friends. Last year, 85 percent of young adults were satisfied with their social lives against 4 percent who were dissatisfied.

Social life rated more highly by those active in associations

Young adults with university and higher professional education levels give higher scores to their social lives than those with lower and medium education levels. This may be explained by the more active participation of higher educated young adults in association activities compared to the lower educated group. Young adults who participate regularly in association activities are more positive about their social lives than those who do not participate.

Furthermore, young adults are more positive about their social lives when they have regular contact with relatives or friends. Among young people who have daily contact with friends, over 9 in 10 are satisfied with their social lives, while for those who have contact less than once weekly, the share is nearly 5 in 10.

Social satisfaction among 18 to 24-year-olds, 2013/'16
 DissatisfiedMore or less satisfiedSatisfied
Frequency of
contact with friends

Less than weekly23.427.848.8

Half of young adults with good social lives are sometimes lonely

In 2015, 2.2 percent of young adults felt quite isolated and therefore less satisfied with their own social lives. Of those dissatisfied with their social lives, 9.6 percent were experiencing severe loneliness. Fewer than 1 percent of young adults who are happy with their social lives felt this way, with more than half feeling lonely occasionally.

Loneliness among 18 to 24-year-olds, 2013/'15
 Severely lonelySometimes lonelyNot lonely
Opinion about social




(English subtitles available)