45 percent of young people see pollution as a problem

© Hollandse Hoogte / Robin Utrecht
The majority of 18 to 24-year-olds believe that things are heading in the right direction in the Netherlands. They do not consider social issues such as crime, a multicultural society, population density and mentality in the Netherlands to be a major problem. Environmental pollution, on the other hand, is relatively often seen as a major problem. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of the 2019 Annual Report of the National Youth Monitor.

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At the beginning of 2018, there were nearly 4.9 million young people under the age of 25 in the Netherlands. This group included 1.5 million young adults (aged 18 to 24 years). These young adults were asked in 2018 how they view the current state of affairs in the Netherlands and what their views are on five different social issues. Around 7 in 10 young adults were optimistic and believed things are heading slightly or clearly in the right direction in the Netherlands. Of the respondents aged 25 and over, 60 percent shared this view.

Pollution most often seen as a very major problem by young people

Of the five social issues mentioned, environmental pollution was cited most often (by 45 percent) as a serious or very serious problem. Although this share is equally large among over-25s, young adults are more likely to describe it as a very major problem: 11 versus 8 percent. The other four social issues were considered to be major or very major problems by 14 to 30 percent of young adults; 3 to 5 percent regarded these issues as a very major problem.

Opinions of young people about social issues, 2018
 No problem (% of persons aged 18 to 24 yrs)Small problem (% of persons aged 18 to 24 yrs)Neither small nor major problem (% of persons aged 18 to 24 yrs)Major problem (% of persons aged 18 to 24 yrs)Very major problem (% of persons aged 18 to 24 yrs)
Environmental pollution6.319.629.334.210.6
Population density31.323.326.415.53.4
Multicultural society48.519.118.511.12.9

Young adults more positive about social issues than the over-25s

Young adults were more positive about social issues than those over the age of 25. For example, 30 percent believed crime was a (very) major problem, versus around half of the older group. One-fifth of young people considered population density as a (very) major problem, as against more than one-quarter of the rest of the Dutch population. A multicultural society and the mentality in the Netherlands were seen as a (very) major problem by young adults less often than by those aged 25 and over.

People who consider social issues to be a (very) major problem, 2018
Onderwerp18 to 24 yrs (%)25 yrs and over (%)
Environmental pollution44.847.6
Population density19.026.9
Multicultural society13.921.3

Seven in ten young adults have high personal well-being rating

Young people are predominantly positive about their personal life as well. Seven in ten young adults had a high level of personal well-being in 2016/2018. Young people rated themselves a 7 or higher in terms of their education or occupation (90 percent), their health and their social life (84 and 85 percent). They were also likely to feel safe and be satisfied about their neighbourhood. Young adults were relatively often concerned about their financial future and had relatively little trust in institutions; slightly over half of young people were positive about this.

Since measurements started in 2013, the share of young people with a high level of personal well-being has risen slightly. In 2018, they were less likely to be concerned about their financial future and were more likely to have faith in institutions compared to 2013.

People who rate dimensions of personal well-being with a score of 7 or higher, 2016/2018
DimensieSatisfied (% of persons aged 18 to 24 yrs)
Personal Well-being Index
Social life84.7
Trust in

Want to learn more about young people’s life situation?

For the twelfth time, CBS presents the Annual Report of the National Youth Monitor. In this report, which touches on various themes, you can read more about young people’s life situation. What does the family situation of young people look like? How often do they live in one- parent households or in income support families, for example? How do they perform at school and do they have a job? How many of them become involved in criminal activities? Are there any differences in lifestyle between young adults, and for what purposes do they use the internet? All of this information can be found in the Annual Report and on the National Youth Monitor website.