Well-being of Dutch men is better than Dutch women, report reveals

Well-being of Dutch men is better than Dutch women, report reveals

A new report released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reveals that, in a number of areas, the well-being of men in the Netherlands is higher than that of women.

The CBS Monitor of Well-being and the Sustainable Development Goals 2020 measures the distribution of well-being within population groups organised by sex, age, education, and migration background using a maximum of 20 indicators:

  • Being overweight
  • Satisfaction with leisure time
  • Weekly contact with family and / or friends
  • Voluntary work
  • Status as a victim of crime 
  • Satisfaction with life
  • Level of education
  • Long-term unemployment
  • Satisfaction with work 
  • Satisfaction with commuting time 
  • One or more housing defects
  • Satisfaction with housing
  • Trust in institutions
  • Experiences with environmental pollution in local neighbourhood
  • Personal well-being
  • Rating of good or very good health
  • Paid work
  • Trust in other people
  • Feeling unsafe in local neighbourhood
  • Average household income

It is important to note that this research was conducted before the coronavirus outbreak, so it is not entirely reflective of the current society. 

Men versus women

The report concludes that, generally speaking, men experience a higher level of well-being than women in the Netherlands based on the factors measured. Men score higher than women in five sectors. They are less likely to feel unsafe in their own neighbourhoods and are more likely to trust other people and label their own health as either good or very good. Relatively speaking, more men are also in paid work.

Dutch men also score higher on the personal well-being index which combines well-being in various aspects of life. This year’s report shows 68 percent of men had a high personal well-being score, compared to 62 percent of women.

However, there are some areas where women scored better than men. Fewer women report being a victim of crime, and they are more likely to do voluntary work and be able to spend time with friends and family. Women in the Netherlands are also more satisfied than men with the amount of leisure time they have, and last but not least, fewer women are overweight than men: 40 percent compared to 48 percent.

Factors outside of sex

The report also looks at well-being factors outside of their relation to sex. CBS found that people with higher levels of education and people with native Dutch backgrounds do better in many departments, while those with lower education levels and a migrant background are more likely to be in a less favourable position. 

People with higher education score higher than average on thirteen of the indicators measured, and lower than average on only four: satisfaction with commuting time; satisfaction with leisure time; weekly contact with family and friends; and status as a victim of crime. People with lower levels of education score below average on twelve indicators, and higher on only three: satisfaction with commuting time; satisfaction with leisure time; and status as a victim of crime.

When looking at the migration background, the CBS observed that people with a native Dutch background didn’t score lower than average on any of the indicators measured, scoring above average on 18 of 20 indicators. The only factors native Dutch people received average scores for were trust in institutions and median household income. On the other hand, people with non-western backgrounds scored below average on 17 of the 20 indicators and only received average scores for the remaining three: trust in institutions; weekly contact with friends and family; and satisfaction with commuting time.

To see a full breakdown of the findings of the research, you can 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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