Fewer NL residents living on welfare

The UWV building on Cascadeplein in Groningen
The UWV building on Cascadeplein in Groningen. Oct. 3, 2004FruugoWikimedia CommonsCC-BY

At the end of 2019 a total of 413 thousand people in the Netherlands were receiving welfare benefits, a decrease of 19 thousand compared to the year before. The number of welfare recipients decreased regardless of migration background, Statistics Netherlands reported on Friday.

Between 2009 and 2016, the number of people living on social assistance increased annually, by a total of 160 thousand in that period. Since 2017, that number has been decreasing again, in total by 51 thousand. 

The decrease in 2019 was mainly visible among people younger than 45 years. The number of welfare benefits paid to people over the age of 45 decreased by less than 1 percent. According to the stats office, this likely has to do with older people having fewer opportunities on the labor market. 

Last year, the number of welfare benefits declined for people with a Dutch background, people with a western migration background, and people with a non-western migration background. "This is the second year in a row that there are fewer beneficiaries in all three groups," Statistics Netherlands said.

It was the fourth consecutive year of decline for people with a Dutch or western migration background. According to the stats office, the fact that the decline in welfare benefits among people with a non-western background started later, mainly has to do with the influx of people with a Syrian background during the refugee crisis.