Women more at risk of poverty after divorce than men

Women in the Netherlands are still more likely to fall below the poverty line after getting divorced than their male counterparts, Statistics Netherlands reported on Friday. Among couples who got divorced in 2017, 17 percent of women was below the low-income line a year later, compared to 7 percent of men.

This gap is getting smaller, the stats office said. When this study was done among people who got divorced in 2012, 9 percent of men were at risk of poverty a year later and 25 percent of women. "In the population, the proportion with a low income also declined in five years, but the decrease was more pronounced among divorced men and women," the stats office said.

According to Statistics Netherlands, the decrease in the risk of poverty is linked to an increase in the share of economically independent women after the euro crisis in 2014. Of the women who got divorced in 2017, over 60 percent were economically independent before their divorce, earning at least the welfare level income. Of the women who were not economically independent before their divorce that year, 38 percent were at risk of poverty a year later, compared to 4 percent of divorced women who were economically independent.

After divorce, 25 percent of the relatively small group of men who were not economically independent were at risk of poverty. Of the men who were economically independent, 2.5 percent risked falling below the poverty line.

Among women, the presence of children make relatively little difference in whether they're at risk of poverty after their divorce. Despite the loss of their partner's income and without child maintenance, over 80 percent of single mothers were above the low-income line a year after their divorce. Among divorced women without kids, 79 percent were above the low-income line.

Among men, the risk of poverty for those with no kids is notably higher than the average divorced man at 9 percent. According to the stats office, this is because single men with no children tend to be younger and more likely to have a low income or unstable employment situation than older men. 

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