Personal well-being ratings virtually unchanged

© Hollandse Hoogte / Frank de Roo
At country level, the personal well-being of Dutch people barely changed over last year. In 2020, 66.2 percent of adults rated their well-being as high. This is slightly more than in the previous year, when the share was 64.7 percent. The level of satisfaction with social life did decrease somewhat. The new figures are reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) as part of a survey on social cohesion and well-being.

Personal well-being among men and women, 2020
Categorie1 - 4 (low) (% of adults)5 - 6 (intermediate) (% of adults)7 - 10 (high) (% of adults)

In this survey, 7,836 respondents were interviewed. Personal well-being measures in 2020 are based on a number of underlying aspects. These aspects include satisfaction with the financial and working situation, health and social relationships, the living environment and trust in society. The respondents themselves indicate how they score on these underlying aspects.

No overall change in share of adults with high well-being

There is hardly any change in both the share of people with low personal well-being and the share with high well-being. In 2020, 2.6 percent of the adult population had low well-being, with a rating from 1 to 4. This was 2.8 percent in the previous year. With a score from 7 to 10, 66.2 percent of Dutch adults had a high level of well-being. In 2019, this was 64.7 percent.

There are more men than women with a high level of well-being, and the level is slightly higher among people up to age 35 than in older age groups. A stronger correlation exists between well-being and education level. Of the lower educated, 55.1 percent had a high level of well-being. This share rose to 65.0 percent among the medium-skilled and to 76.1 percent among those with a high education level.

Personal well-being by education level, 2020
Categorie1 - 4 (low) (% of adults)5 - 6 (intermediate) (% of adults)7 - 10 (high) (% of adults)

Satisfaction with financial situation improved slightly

The trend varies among the underlying aspects of personal well-being. For example, satisfaction with the financial situation improved slightly. Whereas 77.2 percent of Dutch adults gave their financial situation a score of at least 7 in 2019, this share had risen to 79.5 percent one year later.

Concerns about the future financial situation did not change between 2019 and 2020; one-quarter are concerned about this.

Personal well-being, 2020
Categorie1 - 4 (low) (%)5 - 6 (intermediate) (%)7 - 10 (high) (%)
18 to 24 yrs1.92870.1
25 to 34 yrs2.328.369.3
35 to 44 yrs2.331.566.1
45 to 54 yrs2.832.764.5
55 to 64 yrs3.433.163.6
65 to 74 yrs2.63364.3
75 yrs and over2.130.867.1

Majority satisfied with daily activities and living situation

Over 8 in 10 adults are satisfied with their work or other daily activities. More than 8 in 10 are also satisfied with their educational opportunities. There has been no shift in these aspects either.

At the same time, the quality of living space remained highly rated in 2020: more than 85 percent were satisfied with their neighbourhood. Perceived unsafety did not see any changes either, with 1 in 10 feeling unsafe at times.

Lower score for social life

Both in 2020 and in the previous year, nearly 70 percent of adults were satisfied with their physical health. However, there was a slight decline in satisfaction with mental health: the share fell from 83.1 percent in 2019 to 81.7 percent last year.

Social life - including relationships and contacts with friends, family or neighbours - was also rated slightly lower in 2020. Whereas 82.9 percent were satisfied with this in 2019, the share had dropped to 80.1 percent one year later.

More trust in institutions

Confidence in institutions improved in 2020. In 2019, 75.0 percent had a fairly high to high level of trust in the police; this had risen to 77.8 percent within a year. The picture is similar in terms of trust in the judiciary, which showed an increase from 73.3 to 77.0 percent.

A sharp increase was seen in the share with confidence in Parliament, which rose from 39.2 percent in 2019 to 52.4 percent one year later.

Trust in institutions
 2020 (% of adults)2019 (% of adults)