Fewer Dutch living in poverty

Volunteers sorting food bank donations
Volunteers sorting food bank donationsPhoto: monkeybusiness/DepositPhotos

The number of people in the Netherlands who live below the poverty line continues to decline, according to social and cultural planning office SCP. In 2017 nearly 939 thousand people did not have enough money to get by, compared to almost a million people the year before. The SCP attributes the decline to economic growth and increased employment, NOS reports.

The SCP definition for poverty is when people do not have enough money for basic needs, relaxation and 'social participation', such as membership to a sports club. The planning office uses a 'not-much-but-sufficient budget' as the dividing line. For a single person that is 1,135 euros per month. For a couple with no children it's 1,555 euros, and for a couple with one child it's 1,850 euros. Anyone who falls 2,300 short on that budge per year is considered poor.

Poverty in the Netherlands has been falling since 2013, according to SCP. That decline is visible in all population groups, except among Syrians. Nearly 55 percent of Syrians living in the Netherlands were poor in 2017, up from around 40 percent in 2013. According to the SCP, this may have to do with the refugee crisis. Thousands of Syrian asylum seekers fled to the Netherlands since 2015. "At the start, they are so preoccupied with processing their war experiences that they are relatively often dependent on welfare", the SCP said.

When it comes to age categories, the SCP noticed that children up to the age of 12 and elderly people over the age of 90 relatively often live in households with an income below the not-much-but-sufficient budget. Around 9 percent of Dutch kids aged 12 or younger live in poverty, and almost 11 percent of elderly people over the age of 90. The SCP attributes this to healthcare costs within these age groups. After those costs have been deducted from household income, the remaining amount is relatively often below the poverty line. 


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