In 2018, almost nine in ten adults indicated that they were satisfied with their lives; 12 percent considered themselves to be neither satisfied nor dissatisfied while 2 percent said they were dissatisfied. The share of satisfied people is 2 percentage points higher than in 2013. It is the first time that CBS reports on the views of the Dutch population regarding the current state of affairs in the Netherlands.
Both satisfied and optimistic
Last year, more than half (56 percent) of all adults were optimistic about the state of affairs in the Netherlands, while 35 percent were pessimistic and believed that things were more or less going in the wrong direction. Another 8 percent are not sure whether things are heading in the right or wrong direction in the Netherlands.
Of those satisfied with their lives, 59 percent are optimistic about society; 33 percent are pessimistic and the remaining share do not know. The reverse is also true: over half (54 percent) of those dissatisfied with their lives believe things are heading in the wrong direction in the Netherlands, while 31 percent are optimistic. In other words, those who are satisfied with their own lives are also more likely to be optimistic about the country.
|Going in the right direction||Going in the wrong direction||Do not know|
|Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied||44||44||12|
Young people less often pessimistic
In 2018, men and women were equally likely to be satisfied with their lives. They were also equally likely to be optimistic or pessimistic about the Netherlands. Young people (aged 18 to 24) were least pessimistic. More than one-quarter were somewhat or very negative about the future of the country. People in this age group were not more likely to be optimistic compared to the over-25s, but indicated relatively often that they do not know whether things in the Netherlands are going in the right or wrong direction (14 percent).
|Going in the right direction (%)||Going in the wrong direction (%)||Do not know (%)|
|18 to 24 yrs||59||27||14|
|25 to 34 yrs||56||34||10|
|35 to 44 yrs||59||36||6|
|45 to 54 yrs||56||36||7|
|55 to 64 yrs||55||38||7|
|65 to 74 yrs||52||42||6|
|75 yrs and over||56||32||11|
Higher educated more optimistic
Higher educated people are more likely to be optimistic than people with low and medium education levels. Among the higher educated, 65 percent are optimistic about the Netherlands; among medium and low-skilled people, the shares are 54 and 49 percent, respectively. Native Dutch people are more likely to be pessimistic than people with a western or non-western migration background. This cannot be attributed to personal characteristics, such as the fact that western and non-western people are younger on average, or to differences in perceived health or household income. Only people with a western background are also more likely to be optimistic. Persons with a native Dutch or non-western background show no differences in terms of their optimism about the Netherlands.
There is a group of people (10 percent) who believe things are clearly going in the wrong direction. These people, who are very pessimistic about the Netherlands, are relatively often male (55 percent), between the ages of 45 and 74 (61 percent), low-skilled (39 percent) and native Dutch (81 percent).
|Low education level (% of population aged 18 and over)||Intermediate education level (% of population aged 18 and over)||High education level (% of population aged 18 and over)|
|Clearly going in the wrong direction||39||40||21|
|Going somewhat in the wrong direction||27||43||29|
|Going somewhat in the right direction||24||40||36|
|Clearly going in the right direction||24||34||42|
The extent to which people are optimistic or pessimistic about the Netherlands has been measured by asking the following question: ‘What do you think of the current state of affairs in the Netherlands?’ The answer categories are: 1. Things are clearly going in the right direction; 2. Things are going somewhat in the right direction; 3. Things are going somewhat in the wrong direction; 4. Things are clearly going in the wrong direction; 5. I do not know The answer category 1 is characterised as ‘very optimistic’, category 2 as ‘somewhat optimistic’, category 3 as ‘somewhat pessimistic’ and category 4 as ‘very pessimistic’. In this news release, categories 1 and 2 have been combined to represent ‘optimism’ and categories 3 and 4 as ‘pessimism’.