More buying power for Caribbean Dutch residents in 2019

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It was recently determined that the Income Tax source data used for this publication were incomplete. As a result, the income for some households has not been properly determined. Statistics Netherlands is working on a revision of the results.

Initial estimates indicate that deviations have arisen since 2016 and have increased by 2020 to an underestimation of the income of the entire population in the order of 3 to 13 percent, depending on the chosen statistic. New results will be published in June for 2021 and 2022, after which the previous years will also be revised based on the current data.
In 2019, the purchasing power of the Caribbean Dutch population increased compared to the previous year. This was mainly due to the increases in wages, child benefit, the statutory minimum wage and benefits. On St Eustatius and Saba, residents benefited from a median increase of 4.9 percent relative to 2018, on Bonaire this was 3.9 percent. Benefit recipients and single-parent families gained the most. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on newly released figures.

From 2012 to 2017 inclusive, the median purchasing power in the Caribbean Netherlands rose each consecutive year. In 2018, average price levels on Bonaire and Saba increased more rapidly than incomes on these islands, which lowered the purchasing power. In 2019, a number of steps were taken to improve livelihood security, boosting spending power for residents on all three islands. For example, the reduction in employer premiums for employee insurance allowed for wage increases. Benefits and the statutory minimum wage were raised as well.

The median purchasing power of persons living in households mainly depending on income from employment improved the most on St Eustatius at 4.8 percent. A median increase of 4.8 percent in 2019 means that half of the population saw their spending power rise by at least 4.8 percent and the other half by less than 4.8 percent. Persons on Bonaire living in households that were mainly dependent on benefits experienced the highest purchasing power growth, i.e. 7.2 percent. One in five persons in these households suffered a loss of purchasing power.

Median purchasing power development in the Caribbean Netherlands
 Bonaire (year-on-year % change)St Eustatius (year-on-year % change)Saba (year-on-year % change)
* provisional figures

Highest purchasing power gain among households with children

On all three islands, the median purchasing power rose for all types of households. Due to the raised child benefit, the purchasing power increased particularly strongly among persons in households with underage children, especially for persons in single-parent families, namely 8.2 percent on Bonaire, 7.4 percent on St Eustatius and 9.4 percent on Saba. For less than one in three persons living in single-parent families, spending power declined.

Median purchasing power development by household composition, 2019*
 Bonaire (year-on-year % change)St Eustatius (year-on-year % change)Saba (year-on-year % change)
Single-person household4.55.35.3
Single-parent family8.27.49.4
Couple without children222.6
Couple with child(ren)
Multiperson household, other2.23.24.9
* provisional figures

Young people benefit most

On all three islands, the purchasing power rose across all age groups. For persons up to age 40, the increase amounted to 4.8 percent, 5.9 percent and 7.0 percent on Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba respectively. These people are still in the process of building their careers. The households they belong to often include children. These persons benefited from the wage increase as well as the child benefit increase.

Median purchasing power development by age of main breadwinner, 2019*
 Bonaire (year-on-year % change)St Eustatius (year-on-year % change)Saba (year-on-year % change)
Under 40 yrs4.85.97.0
40 to 59 yrs4.24.93.6
60 yrs and over3.04.24.4
* provisional figures

Sharpest spending power increase for low-income households on Bonaire

In 2019, spending power rose across all income groups. On Bonaire and St Eustatius, the median purchasing power improved the most for persons in households in the lowest-income quartile, with increases of 7.0 and 5.4 percent respectively. On St Eustatius, an increase was seen among households in the highest-income quartile at 5.3 percent.

Median purchasing power development by income quartile, 2019*
 Bonaire (year-on-year % change)St Eustatius (year-on-year % change)Saba (year-on-year % change)
Quartile 1 (low income)
Quartile 4 (high income)
* provisional figures