Dutch prosperity increased over past 3 decades

The average Dutch household now has one quarter more to spend than it did in 1977, taking into account inflation and the shrinking size of households, with a disposable income of 33,2 thousand euros on average in 2010.

Aside from normal business cycle ups and downs, household income has gradually increased over the last three decades. Couples with children have on average less income than couples without children or with adult children. Single-parent families have the lowest incomes, especially those with young children. This announcement comes on the heels of reports that wages in the Netherlands are among the highest in the world.

The purchasing power (the number of goods / services that can be purchased with a unit of currency) of the Dutch population is down by 0,5 percent after having risen almost continuously over the past 25 years. This is the largest annual decrease since 1985. Pensioners in particular were affected, with a loss of purchasing power of 1 percent. Households claiming income support were the only group whose purchasing power improved in 2010.

Income inequality in the Netherlands is relatively small compared to other countries, and has not changed much over the past 10 years, although it has become more variable in the years since 2006, mostly due to the influence of self-employed households. As of 2010 income inequality is on the rise.

The median Dutch household capital (wealth in the form of money or assets) fell 40 percent from 2008 to 2011, to 29.000 euros. This dramatic decrease is mostly due to a decrease in home values, from an average of 256.000 to 233.000 euros; nearly 6 out of 10 Dutch households own their home. Mortgage debts also increased during this period, from 143.000 to 160.000 euros.

Approximately 16 percent of Dutch households can be classified as very prosperous: they belong to the 10 percent of households with the highest income and / or the 10 percent with the most capital.

Relatively more people in these affluent households say they are happy compared to the rest, although the difference is small: 93 percent versus 88 percent.

Prosperous people 12 years and older smoke significantly less, but they drink more alcohol, and also drink more often. Fewer of them are seriously obese, and more of them participate actively in sports than less prosperous people.

These statistics are compiled by Statistics Netherlands and are reported in the publication Welvaart in Nederland (Prosperity in the Netherlands).

Carly Blair


Carly Blair



Leave a comment