1.Young people in the Netherlands (Chapter 2)

At the beginning of 2019, there were nearly 4.9 million young people under the age of 25 years in the Netherlands. This represents 28 percent of the population, a share that is projected to decline to 27 percent in 2029. Among other reasons, this is because elderly people are living longer. Among the young people, 27 percent had a migration background, of whom two-thirds had a non-western origin. Nearly 8 out of 10 young people with a non-western migration background were born in the Netherlands and therefore belong to the second generation. Among young people with a western migration background, 64 percent were born in the Netherlands. According to the population forecast, the number of young people with a migration background will continue to grow over the coming decade, although it is projected that the number of second-generation young people with a non-western background will decline after 2022. In 2018, more babies were born to mothers aged 35 or over than was the case 20 years ago. People in their twenties in particular are currently less likely to have a child. The number of children born to teenage mothers also fell. Furthermore, it is increasingly common for children to have parents who do not live together. In 2017, this applied to 21 percent of all minors. Two-thirds of them had no stepparents.

2.Youth care and the road to adulthood (Chapter 3)

If young people have problems while growing up or if there are parenting problems, they can receive youth care. In 2018, 428,000 young people up to the age of 23 years received youth care in the Netherlands. That is nearly one young person in 10. Youth care consists of youth assistance, youth protection and juvenile rehabilitation. As the assistance and care needs of young people receiving youth assistance and youth protection have more in common with each other than with the needs of young people in juvenile rehabilitation, this last group will not be considered any further in this report. In 2018, 417,000 young people received youth assistance and/or youth protection. Youth assistance and youth protection are intended for young people up to the age of 18 years, but this does not mean that young people do not need any care later on. In the last two years, the number of young people in receipt of extended youth assistance rose. This was the case specifically for the youth assistance provided by the municipality’s district and neighbourhood team, and for residential youth assistance. Young people who received youth care two years prior to their 18th birthday more often received adult care later, were less often economically independent, and more often came into contact with crime. Many young people in youth care received follow-up care, but it often took a few months before this started.

3.Growing up on income support (Chapter 4)

At the end of 2018, 6.5 percent of all children under the age of 18 years were in families with at least one adult who was dependent on income support. This is a group of nearly 217,000 minors. The figure fell for the second year in a row. Although the total number of children in income support families declined further, the number of such children with a Syrian migration background rose again. However, this number rose less than it did between 2016 and 2017. At the end of 2018, more than 13 percent of children in income support families had a Syrian migration background. This made it the largest group after children with a native Dutch background (28 percent). Income support families have less disposable income than other families and nearly always belong to the 20 percent of least prosperous households in the Netherlands. More than 95 percent of income support families lived in a rental property. Income support families spent a larger share of their income on housing costs than other families. The younger the children, the less disposable income an income support family has and the more often the family’s debts are greater than their possessions. Nearly 9 in 10 of the youngest income support families run the risk of falling into poverty.

4.School (Chapter 5)

More than half of students in Year 3 of secondary general education were in prevocational secondary education (VMBO) in the 2018/19 academic year. VMBO comprises four programmes: the basic vocational programme (VMBO-b), the middle management-oriented programme (VMBO-k), the combined programme (VMBO-g), and the theoretical programme (VMBO-t). In Year 3 of VMBO, pupils with a migration background who were born in the Netherlands (second generation) attended VMBO‍-‍b less often than pupils with a migration background who were not born in the Netherlands (first generation). Of all pupils in secondary general education who sat the final examinations in 2017/18, around 92 percent graduated. At 94 percent, the pass rate is highest among VMBO pupils, especially among pupils in the basic and middle management-oriented vocational programmes. The pass rate was lowest in senior general secondary education (HAVO), at 88 percent. In every type of education, the percentage of pupils sitting final examinations who obtained a diploma is highest among pupils with a native Dutch background or a western migration background. The pupils with a non-western migration background who sit final examinations lag behind, specifically those who are first-generation immigrants. A VMBO diploma does not provide a basic qualification, and nearly all pupils with a VMBO diploma therefore continue in education in the following academic year. Of the VMBO-b/k/g graduates from the 2017/18 academic year, 93 to 98 percent attended secondary vocational education (MBO) in the 2018/19 academic year. After completing VMBO-t, 81 percent chose secondary vocational education, while 17 percent went on to senior general secondary education (HAVO).

5.Work (Chapter 6)

In 2018, the share of young people in work rose and youth unemployment declined further, taking it to its lowest point in the last 10 years. Two-thirds of young people aged 15 to 26 years – more than 1.7 million individuals – were in paid employment. A large proportion of these young people were still at school or were studying. On average, school pupils and students in employment worked 14 hours per week, while the average for young people not in education was 34 hours per week. School pupils and students more frequently had a flexible contract (73 percent) than young people not in education, of whom 40 percent were in flexible employment. The majority of young people in education with a flexible contract were on-call (standby) or replacement workers. Among young people not in education, a temporary contract with prospects for permanent employment was most common for those with a flexible employment contract. In 2018, 77 percent of young employees were satisfied or very satisfied with their work. This percentage is more or less as high as the satisfaction rate for employees aged 27 years and over, and it is similar to the percentage in previous years. The percentage of 15 to 26‑year-old employees with work-related problems of mental fatigue has risen in recent years from 10 percent in 2014 to 15 percent in 2018, and nearly a third of young employees said that they frequently or always experienced a high workload.

6.Lifestyle differences between young adults (Chapter 7)

Lifestyle is a broad concept that is strongly connected with health. A healthy lifestyle consists, for example, of a healthy diet, not smoking, drinking little or no alcohol, and taking sufficient exercise. The lifestyle of young adults aged 18 to 24 years in the Netherlands deviates from that of other age categories, specifically in the area of substance use. For example, relatively many of them state that they have used drugs and they also drink a lot relatively often. There are also differences within the young adults group. This chapter divides the group of young adults into four subgroups, based on the degree of urbanisation of the municipality of residence (urban or non-urban) and the education level (high or not high). For example, highly educated urban young adults used drugs more often than their contemporaries. A relatively large proportion of them also smoked, though mostly not on a daily basis. Members of this group relatively often ate sufficient fruit and vegetables as well as meeting guidelines on exercise, and a fairly small share of the group were overweight. Urban young adults who were not highly educated drank relatively little alcohol, but most often smoked daily. Around a quarter of the less highly educated young adults were overweight. Among their highly educated contemporaries, the share was nearly one-fifth. As regards excess weight, there is no difference in relation to the degree of urbanisation. The four groups of young adults differ in more areas than just lifestyle. There were also differences in aspects such as participation in education, participation in the labour market, household composition and migration background, which could all be connected with the differences in lifestyle.

7.Crime (Chapter 8)

More than 50,000 young people were registered as crime suspects in 2018. This represents 1.7 percent of young people aged between 12 and 24 years. The share of young people registered as crime suspects declined steadily between 2009 and 2018. The share of registered suspects is significantly higher among boys than girls. For boys, this share was highest among 18‑year-olds in 2018, while for girls this peak was somewhat earlier – at 17 years – and considerably lower. The highest share of registered suspects among boys and girls in all age categories is in the category of property crime. This includes crimes such as shoplifting, bicycle theft and fraud. In addition to being crime suspects, young people can also come into contact with the police in other ways. In 2017, 26 percent of young people aged 15 to 24 years came into contact with the police on one or more occasions in their own municipality. For 30 percent of them, this contact involved giving information to the police or reporting an offence. For 25 percent of young people, it involved a contact related to enforcement, such as being given a fine or a warning, or being stopped and checked. Most frequently (45 percent), there was a different reason for the contact, such as asking for advice or help, or having a chat. Of the young people aged 15 to 24 years who had contact with the police in their municipality of residence, 61 percent were satisfied or very satisfied with their last contact. The level of satisfaction among young people regarding contact with the police has increased since 2012.

8.Caribbean Netherlands (Chapter 9)

At the start of 2018, there were 7,000 young people aged up to 25 years living on Bonaire, Saba or St Eustatius. They constituted 28 percent of the overall population. The share of young people in the overall population did not differ much from one island to another, but on each island there were differences according to the neighbourhood. For example, the neighbourhoods with the most young people were Amboina on Bonaire, The Bottom on Saba and Bay Brow on St Eustatius. A little over a quarter of young people in the Caribbean Netherlands lived with one parent and a little more than half with two parents. The rest lived independently or as an additional member of another family. More than 9 in 10 of the young people who lived with one or both of their parents had at least one parent in employment. This was true of both young people in single-parent families and those living with both parents. Of the 15 to 24‑year-olds, 44.5 percent were in paid employment. Participation in the labour market was highest on Bonaire, at 46 percent, followed by Saba (44.5 percent) and St Eustatius (35.4 percent). It is much less common for young people in education in the Caribbean Netherlands to have a part-time job in addition to their studies, compared with young people in the European Netherlands. Therefore, a large share of the young people in the Caribbean Netherlands were not in work and gave the fact that they were in training or studying as the reason for not being able to work.

9.Well-being of young people (Chapter 10)

Young adults in the age category 18 to 24 years are generally happy. However, the share has declined somewhat over the past 20 years, from 91 percent reporting that they were happy in 1997 down to 86 percent in 2018. Young men and women are more or less equally happy, and there are few differences in relation to the highest level of education achieved. However, there are differences in relation to migration background and housing situation. Among young people with a native Dutch background, 90 percent were happy, while for those with a western or non-western migration background, the share was 80 percent. Young people who live with a partner are most often happy. Personal well-being was also often high among young people, with 70 percent of them enjoying a high degree of personal well-being in 2018. Young people relatively frequently gave themselves a score of 7 or higher for their education or profession, their health and their social life. They were also often satisfied with their safety and their neighbourhood, but less satisfied with their financial future and trust in institutions. The majority of young people also thought that the Netherlands was heading in the right direction and they did not see issues such as crime, the multicultural society, population density and the mentality in the Netherlands as major problems. However, environmental pollution was relatively often felt to be a big problem.

10.Young people and the internet (Chapter 11)

The internet has become an indispensable part of the daily lives of young people. In particular, smartphones with fast internet connections enable young people to use the internet virtually always and everywhere. In 2018, 95 percent of young people aged 12 to 24 years used the internet every day. The most common internet activity of young people is communicating online. In 2012, 67 percent of them used social networks to send text messages (for example through WhatsApp). This rose to 94 percent in 2018. The popularity of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat was undiminished at 87 percent. Furthermore, increasing numbers of young people are active in a professional network, such as LinkedIn. Among young people, 78 percent used the internet to look up information about goods and services online, and 59 percent searched for information about health and lifestyle. Online shopping is also becoming increasingly important to young people. They purchase goods online increasingly frequently and spend more money on these purchases. In 2018, 82 percent of young people made purchases online, compared to 70 percent in 2012. Clothing or sports equipment were the most frequent online purchases in 2018, at 63 percent, followed by tickets for events (49 percent) and travel and holiday packages (39 percent). The sums that young people spend on online purchases have increased since 2015. In 2018, more than 3 out of 10 purchases were for goods costing less than 100 euros. Over a quarter of young people made purchases for between 100 and 500 euros, and 8 percent bought something for 500 euros or more.


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