Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - 08:34
Four percent of Dutch live in long-term poverty
The number of people stuck in long term poverty increased significantly as a result of the economic crisis. In 2013 a massive 1.25 million people lived in poverty. Almost half of them - 595 thousand people - lived below the poverty line for three or more years. That is almost 4 percent of the Dutch population, according to a report by the Social and Cultural Planning Bureau on long-term poverty in the Netherlands. The SCP considers a person poor if his income is too low to pay for clothing, food and housing, plus sporadic social spending, such as membership to a sports club. In 2013 that amount was 1,061 euros per month for single people and 1,990 euros per month for a family with two children. The researchers conclude that once a person is poor, he is often permanently poor. For years now half of the poor people in the Netherlands have been poor for three years or longer. It is therefore crucial to intervene quickly, according to researcher Stella Hof. The longer people are poor, the harder it is for them to get out of that situation. According to Hof, it is therefore important to help unemployed people get back to work quickly. Yet, even if every unemployed person gets a job, the SCP does not think it likely that long-term poverty will be reduced to pre-crisis levels in the coming years. Having a job does not guarantee that you won't be poor, according to Hof. Almost half of the people living in long term poverty - 285 thousand - have some form of paying job, but the income is not enough to survive on. "The reason for that is that an increasing number of people have flexible contracts or are freelancers", Hof said. Long term poverty is also a problem with pensioners, if on a small scale. But if a pensioner falls below the poverty line, he has little opportunity to improve his income. For those who do manage to overcome poverty, almost a fifth are back in the old situation a year later. After five years, 40 percent are again living below the poverty line.