2012 economy tough on Dutch, worse on non-natives

This past year has seen tough economic times in the Netherlands, and the crisis has hit non-western foreigners harder than the native Dutch, according to new reports from Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

In 2012, consumer confidence fell to a record low, companies invested less, and the housing market remained in a slump. Furthermore, these economic developments negatively affected the labour market. For the first time since 1996, over half a million people in the Netherlands are unemployed, and all age groups have been negatively impacted. Purchasing power also fell for the third year in a row.

Among non-western residents of the Netherlands, economic conditions have become even worse. Unemployment started rising earlier, rose faster, and at 14,9% is nearly three times higher among those with a non-western foreign background than among the native Dutch. The number of non-western foreigners claiming income support has increased by twice that of native Dutch since 2008.

According to CBS, a closer bond with the Netherlands positively affects integration. For example, first-generation non-western foreigners are less likely to be unemployed if they arrived in the Netherlands at a young age. Interestingly, those with a non-western foreign background living in the Randstad are more integrated in Dutch society than those living elsewhere in the Netherlands, but only if they do not actually live in any of the Randstad's largest cities.

The recent years of economic recession also seem to have affected people’s personal lives. In 2012 the number of babies born will drop to 176.000, the lowest number since the mid-80s.

The number of marriages and registered partnerships are also decreasing, as are the number of families moving house; families with children in particular are less likely to move: this year, nearly 100.000 fewer couples with children will have moved than in 2008.

On the other hand, even though various economic indicators are negative this year, many well-being indicators remain relatively stable. For example, the number of people who do not feel safe and the number of victims of crime are stable, and registered crime is falling. In particular, the number of underage male suspected criminals has dropped by nearly 50% since 2005.

Carly Blair


Carly Blair



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