The Netherlands wealthier, but not happier or healthier since 2019, says Rabobank
The Dutch economy has grown since 2019, but the population has not become happier or healthier. As a result, broad prosperity has hardly changed in the past three years, while the Netherlands has become much wealthier per capita. Economists from Rabobank and Utrecht University made the conclusion after analyzing several aspects of the well-being of the Dutch population.
The researchers looked at hard economic data such as income, consumption and production, when trying to create a broad picture of welfare in the Netherlands. But they also added more attributes into the analysis, like happiness, health, housing, environment, safety and security.
The economic picture has continued to improve. In addition to the increase in gross domestic product per capita, the Dutch public also has more job security and income levels are rising. On the other hand, "subjective well-being," defined as how satisfied one feels in general, has decreased since 2019. This also applies to satisfaction with living situations and health. These sentiments were likely affected by the tight housing market and the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Even when weighing that deterioration against economic growth, broad prosperity will remain relatively stable compared to 2019. In the intervening period, prosperity fell slightly after the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, but then rose slightly again.
Utrecht University and Rabobank also reported regional differences. The broad prosperity in Delfzijl and the area surrounding the Groningen municipality is lower than average. Income levels there are relatively low and people are less satisfied with their homes.
The major urban areas in and around Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam also score below average. It is especially difficult and more expensive to obtain housing there. Inhabitants of the southwestern portion of Overijssel enjoy the highest broad prosperity. According to researchers, the balance between work and private life is remarkably good there.
There are not very big differences between regions, according to Erik Stam, professor of economics at Utrecht University. "What we mainly see is that a large group of regions is at or around the average level of broad prosperity in the Netherlands. This middle group therefore hardly differs from each other in terms of their overall level of broad prosperity," he explained.
"The regional differences that exist are mainly related to differences in housing satisfaction and incomes."
Reporting by ANP