Favourable trends for labour and material well-being; higher and higher housing costs
Many trends in the area of labour and income point to increasing well-being ‘here and now’. Objective indicators (e.g. unemployment, net labour participation and disposable income), as well as more subjective ones (satisfaction with work and job worries) show positive changes. Eighty-three percent of the Dutch population rate their life with at least 7 out of 10 points in 2022. The predominantly high level of well-being ‘here and now’ does have a downside, however. Work-related mental fatigue is growing, people are starting to worry more about their financial security and satisfaction with the amount of leisure time is decreasing. Moreover, housing costs are steadily increasing.
Opposite these favourable developments in well-being ‘here and now’, resources that future generations need to achieve the same level of well-being as the present generation are being depleted. If current trends continue, future generations will have less natural and social capital at their disposal.
Natural capital: biodiversity and water quality declining
In terms of natural capital in the Netherlands, biodiversity and water quality are both deteriorating. Fauna on land, fauna in fresh water and marshes, the Red List Indicator and farmland birds are all showing a downward trend, just as the area of surface water whose chemical quality is qualified as ‘good’.
Hairline cracks in social capital
Social capital reflects how people get along and interact with each other: how they participate actively in society and the quality of their relations with other people. In view of its position among the leaders in the EU27, Dutch social capital is strong, although relatively many people feel they are part of a group which is discriminated against. Society-related indicators show a number of trends pointing to stable or declining well-being. Contacts with family, friends or neighbours, taking part in club activities and voluntary work have all been decreasing for a number of years. Trust in institutions has also deceased across the board recently. Other hairline cracks in social capital are lower levels of trust in the judicial system, and an increase in perceived corruption. These deteriorations affect not only well-being ‘here and now’, but also well-being ‘later’.
Economy and energy supply gradually more sustainable
One brighter spot for well-being ‘here and now’, ‘later’, and ‘elsewhere’ is that Dutch material well-being is produced using fewer resources and more renewable energy. The total installed capacity for renewable electricity has risen sharply. The energy intensity of production is falling and productivity of raw materials is increasing. Moreover, domestic material consumption is the lowest in the EU27.
Well-being ‘elsewhere’ is rising according to most of the indicators measured. This third dimension of well-being reflects the impact of the present level of Dutch well-being on the rest of the world, and especially on the least developed countries.
Monitor of Well-being and the SDGs on Accountability Day
CBS presented the sixth edition of the Monitor of Well-being and the SDGs to the Dutch House of Representatives on 17 May 2023 (Accountability Day). CBS publishes the monitor annually at the request of the Dutch Cabinet. Its contents are debated during the Accountability Debate in House of Representatives. The Cabinet itself also officially responds to the results. CBS has integrated the results of the latest Dutch progress on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the outcomes for well-being in the Netherlands. The monitor describes the state of well-being in the Netherlands is the broadest sense of the word: in terms of ecological, social, civil and economic aspects of well-being and prosperity. It focuses on medium-term trends, based on results for the period 2015-2022.