9 in 10 Dutch happy with their lives; same as 20 years ago

Nearly 90 percent of Dutch adults said that they were happy and satisfied with their lives last year. Little has changed on this front since 1997, Statistics Netherlands reported on Friday. 

The percentage of young people satisfied with their lives decreased somewhat over the past 21 years, while the percentage of happy older people increased. Last year 86 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds said they were happy, compared to 91 percent in 1997. Among over-55-year-olds that percentage increased from 84 percent in 1997 to 89 percent last year. The percentage of happy people increased most in the age group 25 to 35-year-olds, from 79 to 85 percent. 

People with a low level of education and people with a non-Western background are less often happy and satisfied with their lives than highly educated people and people with a Dutch only background. Though this difference is decreasing, the stats office said. The proportion of low educated people who are satisfied with their lives increased compared to 1997. The same is true for people with a non-Western background. While the percentage of highly educated people and people with a Western background who are happy with their lives stayed the same. 

In general, developments in the national level of wellbeing are minimal. "In the Netherlands a relatively high proportion is always happy or satisfied with life, and with that the Netherlands also scores high compared to other countries", the stats office said. Many people in the Netherlands already have a high level of wellbeing and already give their lives a high score, which means that there is little room for improvement. "Therefore there is a 'ceiling effect'," according to Statistics Netherlands. 

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