One in eight Dutch kids grow up in poverty; Poor families set to decrease

One in eight kids in the Netherlands are growing up in families wit low incomes, but this is slowly improving. The number of low-income households in the Netherlands is no longer increasing and may even start falling in the near future, according to Statistics Netherlands and the Central Planning Bureau on Wednesday.

As almost everyone in the Netherlands has a roof overhead, has enough to eat, clothes to wear and access to medical care in education, Statistics Netherlands uses the low-income threshold to identify households at risk of poverty. The low income threshold is when the income is insufficient to achieve the level of minimum level of consumption considered necessary in the Netherlands. For a single person that is a net income of 1,020 euros per month, for a couple with three children it is a maximum 2,100 euros net per moth.

Last year 734 households in the Netherlands had a low income. That is about 10.4 percent of Dutch households. In 2013 it was 10.3 percent, or about 728 thousand households. This year the two offices believe it will drop to 10.1 percent, the first drop in years. Next year it will drop even further to 10.0 percent, though this is still significantly higher than in the early years of the economic crisis when 7.5 percent of households had a low income.

While the number of low-income households hardly changed in 2014, the number households with a long-term low income increased significantly. Long-term low income is when a household had to live off a low-income for more than four years in a row. In 2014 some 217 thousand households had to get by on a low-income for at lest four consecutive years. That is 24 thousand more than in 2013. According to statistics Netherlands, this shows that many households that ended up with low-incomes during the crisis have not yet managed to recover.

Single-parent families with young children are especially struggling - one in three get by on a low income. The low income group increased considerably among non-western minorities in recent years, but may also fall quickly because this group is younger than the Dutch average.

People in the lowest income group not only have to deal with financial problems, but often also face social problems. They are more often suspected of crimes, less politically active and are less active in associations. The kids in this group also have less money available for trips and participating in sports.