Dutch young elderly relatively rich and active

© CBS / Nikki van Toorn
In 2018, 13 percent of the Dutch population were between 55 and 65 years of age, similar to the EU average. These young elderly persons have relatively high incomes, attain high levels of workforce participation and are highly involved in volunteer work. This is evident from a publication on welfare and well-being released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) over the year 2019.

At 24 thousand euros, the income level of Dutch 55 to 64-year-olds ranks fifth among the countries of the European Union. In Denmark, Austria and Sweden (with incomes at 26 thousand euros), and Luxembourg in particular (at 33 thousand euros), people in this age group are paid more than in the Netherlands. Young elderly have relatively low incomes in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary (6 to 10 thousand euros per annum). In this comparison, differences in purchasing power have been taken into account.

Income (in Purchasing Power Standards) of 55 to 64-year-olds, 2018 (1,000 euros)
LandIncome (PPS)
Luxembourg*33.3
Sweden26.3
Austria25.8
Denmark25.8
Netherlands23.9
Finland23.7
Belgium23.3
Germany23.0
France*22.5
Ireland*19.6
United Kingdom*19.5
Cyprus19.1
Italy18.8
EU-2818.6
Spain18.0
Malta17.8
Slovenia15.6
Estonia14.4
Czech Republic14.0
Lithuania11.8
Poland11.5
Portugal11.4
Slovakia*11.2
Latvia10.1
Croatia10.0
Greece9.9
Hungary8.8
Bulgaria8.2
Romania6.8
Source: CBS, Eurostat
*2017

Differences in labour participation mainly among low-skilled young elderly

Across the EU-28 countries, differences in labour participation are mainly seen among young elderly with a low education level. In Croatia, Slovakia, Luxembourg and Poland, under 30 percent of the lower-educated 55 to 64-year-olds were in employment last year. This share was 54 percent in the Netherlands, just as in Germany and Portugal. In the United Kingdom and Denmark, 57 percent and in Sweden over 63 percent of the low-skilled young elderly had paid work.

With an average of 75 percent, the labour participation rate among highly educated young elderly is much higher, while disparities between the countries are smaller. Relatively few highly educated are employed in Greece (53 percent), Luxembourg (61 percent) and Romania (64 percent). At 80 percent, the Netherlands has a relatively high share of highly educated 55 to 64-year-olds in work. It is even slightly higher in Latvia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy and Lithuania, with again the highest participation rate seen in Sweden (85 percent).

Labour participation rate among 55 to 64-year-olds, 2018 (%)
LandHigh education levelLow education level
Sweden84.763.2
Denmark77.757.4
United Kingdom67.956.7
Germany82.154.3
Portugal75.654.3
Netherlands80.053.5
Cyprus71.049.4
Finland75.748.8
Ireland70.648.1
EU-2873.744.0
Spain69.042.6
Malta73.741.8
Estonia79.041.1
France67.140.4
Italy83.039.2
Romania64.038.9
Greece53.238.1
Bulgaria74.337.9
Austria72.236.9
Hungary70.736.2
Latvia80.935.0
Lithuania83.334.8
Czech Republic82.834.6
Belgium69.131.1
Slovenia72.630.5
Poland71.027.2
Luxembourg61.026.8
Slovakia73.924.9
Croatia69.022.8
Source: CBS, Eurostat

The Netherlands leading in volunteer work

Not only are there wide differences across the EU in terms of labour participation, but also with regard to unpaid work. The Netherlands is leading in terms of volunteer work. This comprises informal care (help from family or neighbours) and formal (organised) care. Over 83 percent of 50 to 64-year-olds indicated they had spent time on this in 2015. This percentage is also high in Finland and Sweden. In Malta, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, however, the share of young elderly active in volunteer work is less than 10 percent. The EU average amounts to nearly 25 percent.

Volunteer work among 50 to 64-year-olds, 2015 (%)
LandVolunteer work
Netherlands83.1
Finland78.5
Sweden74.0
Slovenia56.0
Poland54.0
Denmark44.3
Ireland43.5
Luxembourg35.9
Latvia31.7
Austria31.1
France28.7
Estonia28.3
Belgium25.3
EU-2824.9
Portugal21.4
United Kingdom21.3
Slovakia20.4
Croatia17.9
Lithuania16.8
Czech Republic16.7
Greece16.4
Germany13.7
Italy13.4
Spain11.6
Hungary9.2
Bulgaria7.2
Cyprus2.8
Romania2.8
Malta1.5
Source: CBS, Eurostat

Dutch life expectancy at European average

The Netherlands holds the middle ground within Europe when it comes to the remaining life expectancy at age 55. Based on recent mortality risks among the over-55s, in 2017 Dutch 55-year-olds still had an average 28.4 years to live. In Southern European countries such as Spain, France and Italy, older people tend to live slightly longer, whereas in the former Eastern Bloc countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary they tend to have shorter lives.

Life expectancy at age 55, 2017 (years)
LandLife expectancy
Spain30.0
France30.0
Italy29.7
Malta29.3
Luxembourg29.1
Sweden29.1
Cyprus28.8
Finland28.7
Ireland28.6
Portugal28.6
Belgium28.5
Greece28.5
Austria28.5
Netherlands28.4
United Kingdom28.4
EU-2828.1
Slovenia28.1
Germany28.0
Denmark27.8
Estonia26.3
Czech Republic26.2
Poland25.9
Croatia25.3
Slovakia25.1
Lithuania24.6
Latvia24.2
Hungary23.9
Romania23.8
Bulgaria23.4
Source: CBS, Eurostat

These figures have been taken from a publication on welfare and well-being (Dutch only) over the year 2019, which has been compiled by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) at the request of the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.