Dutch single-income households have less and less disposable income

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While two-income households in the Netherlands increasingly had more disposable income in the period between 2006 and 2016, single-income homes actually deteriorated and became more likely to get into trouble, Statistics Netherlands reported on Wednesday. 

Two-income households had 5 percent more to spend in 2016 than they had in 2011. In this same period, the disposable income for single-income households decreased by 1 percent. The disposable income for dual-earners also increased by 1.5 percent between 2006 and 2011, while single-earners saw their's decrease by 2 percent in that same period. 

For this study Statistics Netherlands looked at couples in which at least one person has an income from work, possibly supplemented by a benefit or income from property, for example. In 2016 the Netherlands counted 2.9 million such couples. 2.3 million of these couples were two-income households, and 610 thousand of them only had one income. 

Two-income families with children saw the biggest increase in average income in the studied period. Between 2011 and 2016, the average income of these households increased by 6 percent. Their income also grew the most between 2006 and 2011.

Statistics Netherlands attributes this mainly to working women, especially mothers with a partner, who started earning more and more. As a result, the proportion the woman in a couple contributes to the income of a two-earner household increased from almost 33 percent in 2006 to almost 36 percent in 2016.

But while two-income households saw their position improve, single-earners were struggling, according to the stats office.

Single-earners with a partner and possibly a family have more trouble getting by on their income and are more often in arrears than two-income households. 15 percent of the 358 thousand single-income households with children find it difficult to get by. That proportion is almost twice as large as among two-income families with children. Around 8 percent of single-income families with children say they have a payment arrears for financial reasons. These arrears most often involve fixed cost expenses like rent or mortgage.