Labour Force Survey (LFS) Caribbean Netherlands

What does the survey comprise?


To collect information on the labour market situation of the population of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba (Caribbean Netherlands).

Target population

People aged 15 years and older who have been living on the islands for more than three months or who are planning to stay on the islands for more than three months.

Statistical unit

Individuals and households.

Year survey started

In the period October-December 2010 the LFS on Bonaire was conducted for the first time by Statistics Netherlands; at the end of 2012 the LFS was conducted for the first time on all three islands. The LFS on Bonaire has been conducted since 1988. For St Eustatius and Saba labour market information could only be derived from the census that took place every ten years. Until 2010 the LFS Bonaire was conducted by CBS Dutch Antilles; the most recent labour market figures from St. Eustatius and Saba are from 2001. Since 10 October 2010, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba have become special municipalities of the Netherlands and therefore Statistics Netherlands took over the data collection for these islands.


The survey is conducted every other year in the period October-December. In 2020, due to the restrictive corona measures, the survey could not take place before December 2020 to March 2021.

Publication strategy

The figures published are presented as yearly figures for the year in which the survey was conducted. The published yearly figures are final figures.

How is the survey conducted?

Survey type

Sample survey.

Survey method

The survey is conducted using face-to-face interviews. Until 2012 the interviewers used paper questionnaires in Dutch, English, Spanish and Papiamentu. The answers of the respondents were filled out on paper by the interviewers and were later processed electronically. From 2014 onwards, the switch was made to electronic questionnaires, where the interviewer makes use of a tablet to fill out the answers of the respondents. The 2020 edition also offered the option of conducting the interview by telephone for the first time. The interviewer then telephoned the respondent to conduct the interview by telephone instead of face-to-face. Respondents could choose this option when, for example, they were in home quarantine as a result of corona. The complete questionnaire of the LFS-CN (Dutch) is available underneath.



Sample size

In 2020, the sample size was 970 addresses on Bonaire, 510 on St Eustatius and 490 on Saba.

Checking and correction methods

The figures are checked first for internal consistency. To check the plausibility, the aggregated data are then compared with other labour market figures and if possible with the figures of previous Labour Force Surveys.


Not all residents of the addresses that have been selected in the sample participate in the survey. Because of selective non-response, this may give a distorted view on the response of the population. The non-response also has an unknown effect on the estimates for the target variables of the survey. The effects of the non-response can be partially adjusted by weighting the survey results. The weighting of the LFS uses both demographic information (age and gender) and geographical information (district or neighbourhood of each address). Finally, the weighting ensures that the population totals in the tables to be published matches the population totals according to the Statline tables.

Quality of the results


When interpreting the results it should be taken into account that a sample survey does not always give totally accurate results; there is always a certain margin of error. The size of this margin depends among others things on the number of persons in the various distinguished categories. The sample size guarantees a confidence level of 95 percent of the labour participation rate.

Sequential comparability

The figures based on the LFS Caribbean Netherlands 2012 are not comparable to the figures of previous years. This is because in 2012 the questionnaire of the LFS that was previously used on Bonaire was redesigned. This was done to make the questions used to determine labour status (employed, unemployed, not in the labour force) more comparable to the ones used in the LFS carried out in the European part of the Netherlands. In addition, the figures from the 2014 LFS on St Eustatius and Saba are not completely comparable with the previous years, because for these islands it was only possible from 2014 to include information about district in the weighting scheme. Finally, for Saba and St. Eustatius, account must be taken of a few cleanup moments of the population administration. On St Eustatius this happened for 2016 and 2019 and on Saba for 2019. Between 200 and 600 people are considered emigrants. These persons were previously registered in the population records of St Eustatius or Saba, but upon inspection it turned out that they no longer lived on the island. The population totals have therefore been adjusted downwards. Due to this adjustment it is not possible to determine which part of a development in the labour force is due to the cleanup and which part is a real development of the labour force.

Quality strategy

The interviews for the LFS Caribbean Netherlands are conducted by temporary interviewers who are hired and trained especially for the LFS. The interviewers participate in a two-day course on the content and importance of the LFS and on interview techniques.
To guarantee a good response, there are campaigns on the islands in the period that the LFS is conducted. Commercials are broadcasted to create awareness about the survey and ask for cooperation. Households that are selected for the survey also receive a letter and a folder with information on the LFS.