CBS: Huge gap between welfare of urban and rural areas in the Netherlands

CBS: Huge gap between welfare of urban and rural areas in the Netherlands

A new report published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) has revealed that there are significant disparities between the welfare and well-being of city and countryside dwellers in the Netherlands

The CBS prosperity report 2020

For the first time, CBS carried out an extensive assessment of regional prosperity in the Netherlands. Over 40 indicators were used to map the current and long-term prosperity of urban and rural areas, looking beyond economic indicators to provide a better understanding of the state and development of regional society. 

The indicators used fell under 12 categories: 

  • Well-being
  • Material prosperity
  • Health
  • Work and leisure time 
  • Housing
  • Society 
  • Safety
  • Environment
  • Economic capital
  • Natural capital
  • Human capital
  • Social capital

On the whole, the report found that the material wealth of people living in urban areas is higher than those in rural areas. At the same time, however, they suffer from less social cohesion and a reduced sense of community - in spite of the abundance of facilities that are easily accessible to city-dwellers. On the other hand, people living in rural municipalities are generally healthier and enjoy a safer and cleaner living environment. 

Overall prosperity and welfare higher in the countryside than in cities

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague achieve poor results in 17 of the indicators and performed well in only a handful of areas (six, eight, and eight respectively). Other major Dutch cities, such as Maastricht and Groningen, also performed poorly in a high number of areas. 

The study found that there are huge discrepancies within cities, depending on the area you live in. In Amsterdam for example, people who live in Amsterdam-Zuid enjoy extremely high material prosperity and satisfaction with their home / living environment. 

On the whole, overall prosperity is increasing at a faster rate in Dutch cities than in the countryside: the number of registered crimes has decreased, unemployment has fallen, and the median disposable income has risen. CBS found that people living in cities are not necessarily worse-off than their countryside counterparts, but weigh up the advantages of material wealth against the disadvantages of city living. 

To see the results for all municipalities, or to read the report, visit the CBS website.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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