Annual Report Youth Monitor 2020 Summary
Author: Ruud van Herk (Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport)
Following the entry into force of the Youth Act on 1 January 2015, data from the first lustrum are now available in 2020, on the use of youth assistance and the social factors associated with it. We usually determine the value of ‘something’ by drawing comparisons. We can do this by comparing use of youth assistance and social factors over time or between municipalities or regions or by comparing use of youth assistance with social factors, which have an impact on it. After all, youth assistance policy does not exist in isolation but is also connected with poverty, quality and organisation of education, crime, etc. This report presents the reader with aggregated data on young people’s living conditions based on demographic and youth assistance use figures and the associated social factors. It is up to the interested reader, scientist, policy officer or politician to give significance to these data.
This annual report mainly describes developments through to 2019. The effects of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 play virtually no role in this report. This impact will be addressed in the next Annual Report in 2021. In his interviews on the use of the Youth Monitor by municipalities, Jaap van Sandijk asked about possible data requirements surrounding the new coronavirus. It emerged during these interviews that as yet, these municipalities have not had any specific need for other or more data owing to the coronavirus. However, there were other wishes with regard to data (Chapter 12).
How is the comparison made in the 2020 Annual Report? First of all, we look at the demographic development among young people, followed by developments in the use of youth assistance, and then we examine the trends in a number of social themes, including children in families on income support, school, work, crime, substance use and well-being. The Netherlands Youth Institute’s thematic research is about developments in special education. Where possible, municipalities are also compared, including an examination of the state of youth in the BES islands.
Chapter 2 on demographic trends among young people shows that the share of young people (0 to 24 years) in the population is falling. This is because elderly people are living longer, among other reasons. The number of births also declined from 200 thousand in 1999 to 170 thousand in 2019. Because people in their twenties wait longer to have children, a slight increase in births is expected when they are in their thirties. The total number of young people is rising slightly due to immigration. In 2019, it was mainly young adult Poles and Germans who came to the Netherlands. Within the group of non-western immigrants, more young people from Turkey, China and India immigrated that year than young people from Syria, who formed the largest immigrant group in the years 2015, 2016 and 2017.
How has the use of youth care developed between 2015 and 2019? Whereas 8.5 percent of young people (0 to 22 years) received youth care in 2015, this rose to 10.0 percent in 2019 (Chapter 3). The use of youth assistance has increased every year since 2015. The majority of young people, 294 thousand in 2019, received outreach youth assistance at the provider’s location. This is 29 thousand more than in 2015. The largest increase concerns youth assistance provided by the municipality’s district or neighbourhood team; this increased by 43 thousand young people to 79 thousand in 2019. Youth assistance with accommodation also increased slightly. The use of youth protection, on the other hand, has fallen. The use of youth assistance varies per municipality from 4.6 percent to 15 percent. Young people are staying longer in youth assistance and each year sees less capacity for new inflow. The question is whether these differences can be explained by social factors that are less easily influenced or by policy or other decisions made by municipalities and youth assistance providers.
A first important social factor that correlates with the use of youth assistancenoot1 is the share of children in families that depend on income support (Chapter 4). In 2015, 6.6 percent of all underage young people grew up in families on income support. Five years later, this percentage has dropped to 6.1 percent of all underage young people in the Netherlands. The fall in the number of young people growing up in families on income support in 2019 also applies to families with a non-western background. In 2018, 64 percent of families on income support were single-parent families with a woman as the breadwinner. As for education (Chapter 5), the ratio of prevocational secondary education (VMBO) versus senior general secondary education (HAVO)/pre-university education (VWO) can be examined. This shows that the share of third-year pupils in VMBO has fallen from 54.2 percent in 2015 to 51.4 percent in 2019. The fall in the number of VMBO pupils occurred mainly in the basic vocational track (VMBO-B).
Chapter 6 focuses on work. The percentage of young people between the ages of 15 and 26 who have a paid job or job on the side has increased in recent years from 64.0 percent in 2015 to 68.3 percent in 2019. This has changed in 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis. As a result, the youth employment rate fell from 67.9 percent to 64.5 percent between the first and second quarters of 2020 (not adjusted for seasonal influences). Until 2019, the employment rate had risen steadily and in 2018 young workers still in education earned an average annual income of EUR 5,100. What do the young people then spend the money they earn on? In any case partly on tobacco products, cannabis and alcohol (Chapter 7). In the period from 2014 to 2019, the share of young adult smokers aged 18 to 24 decreased, while the share of smokers among young people aged 12 to 17 and cannabis and alcohol consumption among young people remained virtually the same. The percentage of 12 to 24‑year-olds consuming alcohol was 61.2 percent in 2019.
The share of young people suspected of committing a crime fell between 2015 and 2018, but in 2019 increased slightly again according to preliminary figures. The share of young people who were victims of traditional crime has fallen, but the share of victims of cybercrime has risen slightly in recent years. Regional differences are significant: in Noord-Holland and Groningen young people were relatively more likely to be victims of a traditional crime.
These social factors can also influence young people’s sense of well-being (Chapter 10). How are we faring on that front? Although the share of young people aged 18 to 24 who indicated that they were happy in 2019 was somewhat lower than in 1997, this was still high at 88 percent. The percentage of young people who are satisfied with life has been stable for years at 85 to 86 percent. However, there are differences within the age group. For example, young adult men are more likely than women to have a high level of personal well-being and young people aged 22 to 24 are less likely to have a high level of personal well-being than 18 to 21‑year-olds.
In summary, looking at the period 2015 through to 2019, the number of young people remains almost the same and youth care use steadily rose from 8.5 percent to 10.0 percent of all young people between 0 and 22 years of age, although this use varies considerably from one municipality to another. In particular, the number of young people receiving youth assistance has increased. The social factors associated with the use of youth assistance show a predominantly positive picture. On the whole, the overwhelming majority of young adults are happy and satisfied with their lives. It seems that positive scores on social factors have no effect on youth assistance use. The question raised by this observation is: what does have an effect, in that case? Research can shed some light on this by comparing municipalities with high and low levels of youth assistance use. The results can be found on the website of the Youth Monitor.
The challenge is that there are many factors that play a role in the increasing use of youth assistance and their mutual relationship can vary per region. It is up to citizens, scientists, policy-makers and politicians to answer this question. Is it because a certain group of young people cannot participate? Is it due to more serious problems? Does it have to do with changes in the range of youth assistance offered? Is it because of municipal policy, etc.? Different answers to the question of increasing use of youth assistance have resulted in a discussion. The essence of the Youth Monitor is to support this discussion with the most relevant and up-to-date data on young people. It is now up to the participants in these discussions to make the best possible use of these data.
1. Young people in the Netherlands (Chapter 2)
Author: Dominique van Roon
The share of young people aged below 25 years in the entire population has fallen in the past two decades, from 30 percent in 2000 to 28 percent in 2020. At the start of 2020 the Netherlands had nearly 4.9 million young people, of whom 3.3 million were minors (0 to 17) and more than 1.5 million young adults (18 to 24 years). Twenty-eight percent of all young people had a migration background. This is an increase relative to 20 years ago, when that figure was 21 percent. Two-thirds of these young people with a migration background had non-western origins, with nearly 8 out of 10 of them having been born in the Netherlands and therefore part of the second generation. Among young people with a western migration background, more than 6 out of 10 were born in the Netherlands. Of the nearly 170 thousand children born in the Netherlands in 2019, 18 percent were non-western second generation and 9 percent were western second generation. Mothers are more often older when giving birth than was previously the case. In 2019, more than one quarter of babies were born to mothers aged 35 or over. In 1999, this share stood at 20 percent. In 2019, the number of children born to teenage mothers fell to almost 1,300. In 2019, women were on average 30 years old when giving birth to their first child. In early 2020, nearly 9 percent of children under 1 year old were living in a single-parent household, a situation that may have arisen because parents have separated, one of the parents has died or the parents never lived together. This was 6 percent in 2000. In early 2020, 16 percent of children aged up through age 17 were living in a single-parent household. This share has continued to expand over the past two decades, just as the number of children living with parents who are not married.
2. Development of youth care 2015–2019 (Chapter 3)
Author: Rudi Bakker
Since 2015, local authorities have been responsible for youth care. Young care is delivered in three forms: youth assistance, youth protection and juvenile rehabilitation. In 2019, 443 thousand young people received youth care. This constitutes 10 percent of all young people in the Netherlands aged up through age 22. The number of young people receiving youth care has increased since 2015. However, this is not the case for all forms of youth care. Youth assistance has increased the fastest, from 363 thousand in 2015 to 431 thousand in 2019. Youth assistance is also the most common form of youth care. The rise in youth assistance mainly concerns youth assistance without housing; the rise was not as strong for youth assistance where the young person in question does not live at home. To understand the increase in the number of young people receiving youth assistance, we looked at the number of new young people who have received youth assistance since 2015 and the number who had already been receiving youth assistance for a longer period of time. This examination shows that the inflow is falling and that the rise in the number of young people receiving youth assistance is mainly due to young people receiving youth assistance for longer. Youth assistance provision which ended in 2019 lasted an average of 361 days. This is 24 days longer than youth assistance provision that ended in 2018 and 65 days longer than provision that ended in 2016. The increase in the length of the provision is the same for nearly all forms of youth assistance. As opposed to the number of young people receiving youth assistance, the number of young people receiving youth protection in 2019 was lower than in 2015. The number fell from 43 thousand in 2015 to 39 thousand in 2017 and then rose again to 41 thousand in 2019. Juvenile rehabilitation fell from 11 thousand in 2015 to 9 thousand young people in 2019.
3. Growing up on income support (Chapter 4)
Author: Daniël Herbers
At the end of 2019, 6.1 percent of all children younger than 18 were living in a family on income support. This is 204 thousand children on income support. This number has fallen three years in a row and was nearly 13 thousand lower than in late 2018 and almost 25 thousand lower than in late 2017. The number of children on income support rose between 2009 and 2016. This increase was chiefly attributable to the economic crisis. Moreover, the years since 2015 have seen a larger inflow of refugees who usually go onto income support. The fall in 2019 applied to children with a Dutch background and children with a migration background alike. The majority of children on income support (57,800) had a Dutch background. Children with a Syrian background made up the second largest group with 27,500 and children with a Moroccan background formed the third largest group. In 2018, two-thirds of families on income support were single-parent families, often with a woman as the main breadwinner. The youngest families on income support more often included two parents compared to older families. Families on income support have less disposable income than other families and nearly always belong to the 20 percent of least prosperous households in the Netherlands. In 2018, families with children whose most important source of income was income support had €23,600 in disposable income. This works out to an average of €1,970 per month. Families with children younger than 18 years for whom income support was not the most important source of income had 2.5 times as much disposable income. Nearly 99 percent of families on income support lived in rental property and in 2018 more than one quarter of them had more debts than possessions. The younger the children, the less disposable income a family on income support has and the more often the family’s debts are greater than their possessions. In 2018, 87 percent of the youngest families on income support were at risk of poverty. This means that the income is lower than the low-income threshold of Statistics Netherlands.
4. School (Chapter 5)
Authors: Brigitta Struijkenkamp, Marijke Hartgers
In the academic year 2019/2020, there were nearly 194 thousand pupils in the third year of secondary education. Of these pupils, 51 percent were in prevocational secondary education (VMBO), 23 percent in senior general secondary education (HAVO), 23 percent in pre-university education (VWO) and 3 percent attended mixed HAVO/VWO classes. Over the years, the share of pupils in VMBO has fallen while the share in HAVO and VWO has risen. In 2003/2004 almost 59 percent of pupils in the third year were taking a VMBO programme; in 2015/2016 that share was 54 percent. The fall in the number of VMBO pupils occurred mainly in the basic vocational programme (VMBO-B). In the academic year 2018/2019 to 2019/2020, an average of 7 percent of secondary school pupils in year 3 or higher repeated the same year of the education programme that they were taking; 84 percent moved on to the following year. Furthermore, almost 5 percent moved to a lower level while 1 percent went on to a higher level. Almost 3 percent moved to another type of education programme and almost 1 percent left (government-funded) education. In the pre-examination years, the share of repeaters in HAVO was higher than in VMBO or VWO. The percentage of examinees that obtained a certificate differs depending on education level and migration background. The pass rates are highest for VMBO-B and VMBO-K, at 98 and 96 percent in 2018/2019, respectively. The pass rate was lowest for HAVO at 88 percent. Pupils with a native Dutch background have the highest pass rates regardless of the type of education. Examinees with a first or second-generation migration background were lagging behind this group; the differences between generations were small. Nearly all VMBO students who obtained their certificate continued education in the next academic year. This is because students with a VMBO certificate have not yet obtained a basic qualification (i.e. a certificate that is at least HAVO, VWO or MBO level 2). Most students who obtained their HAVO and VWO certificates moved on to higher education.
5. Work (Chapter 6)
Author: Willem Gielen
In 2019, the share of young people aged 15 to 26 in work increased to 68 percent and youth unemployment dropped to 6.1 percent. However, the percentage of young people with paid work fell considerably following the coronavirus outbreak. In Q1 2020, 67.9 percent of young people had paid work; in Q2 2020, this had fallen to 64.5 percent (not adjusted for seasonal effects). This is the sharpest fall in employment among young people in a single quarter since the Labour Force Survey started collecting quarterly figures in 2003. At the same time, the unemployment rate among young people rose dramatically: from 6.3 percent in Q1 2020 to 8.5 percent in Q2 2020. The majority of young people aged between 15 to 26 years are still in school or are students. They worked an average of 14 hours a week in 2019. Young people not in education worked 34 hours a week. Of the young people in employment in 2019, 58 percent had a flexible employment relationship. This percentage fell somewhat between 2017 and 2019 after having increased each year between 2009 and 2017. School pupils and students more frequently had a flexible contract (71 percent) than young people not in education (38 percent). Of all school pupils and students with a job, the largest group worked as loaders, unloaders or shelf-stackers. They also often work in the hospitality industry behind the bar or as waiters; this is followed by jobs as salespersons. The most common jobs among young people not in education were salesperson in retail, social worker and group and sheltered housing supervisor. This group also worked relatively often in the hospitality industry behind the bar or as waiters. In 2019, more than three-quarters of young employees were satisfied with their work. Nevertheless, 14 percent of the employees aged 15 to 26 indicated they experienced complaints of work-related mental fatigue. That percentage is higher than in 2014, but down slightly on 2018. Finally, 31 percent of young employees said that they either often or always experienced high pressure of work. This is similar to the year before.
6. Substance use and health (Chapter 7)
Author: Christianne Hupkens
Of young people aged 12 to 17, one-third had occasionally drunk alcohol in the previous 12 months in the period from 2014 to 2019. Among the young adults aged 18 to 24, this share was 85 percent. Alcohol and cannabis use has not changed among both young people aged 12 to 17 and young adults aged 18 to 24 since 2014. Similarly, the share of smokers among young people aged 12 to 17 did not change in this period. However, the share of smokers among young adults has fallen. Young people who smoke, drink and use cannabis feel just as healthy as young people who do not use the substances. However, this does not apply to young adult males who consume alcohol and young adult females who use cannabis. In the case of young adult males, non-drinkers more often perceive their health to be moderate or bad compared to drinkers. Young adult females who use cannabis more often perceive their health to be moderate or bad compared to women who do not use cannabis. Furthermore, young people who use substances more often appear to have psychological complaints and sleeping problems. This is more often the case among women than men. This study does not allow us to determine whether substance use leads to a better or worse perception of health, psychological complaints or sleeping problems, or whether young people and young adults with worse health or more sleeping problems smoke, drink or use cannabis more often, because the substance use and health were ascertained at the same time. It is also possible that other factors, such as migration background, religion or level of education, influence health and sleeping problems as well as substance use. This study has not considered these possible distorting variables.
7. Crime (Chapter 8)
Authors: Lisanne Jong, Willem Gielen
In 2019, 54,600 young people were registered as crime suspects, 1.8 percent of all young people aged 12 to 24. This number represents a small increase compared to 2018, based on provisional figures from 2019, following a falling trend since 2007. The share of registered suspects is significantly lower among young women relative to young men. In 2019, the share of young registered criminal suspects was highest among 19‑year-old young men, at 3.8 percent. Differences between men and women can also be observed in the type of offences that young people are suspected of. For example, drug and (fire) arms offences are virtually unheard of among girls and offences related to vandalism and public order occur far less among girls than boys. On the other hand, the share of registered suspects in the category of property crime is highest among boys and girls in virtually all age categories. Between 2013 and 2019, the number of suspected young people who were already previously registered as suspects fell. Between 2010 and 2019, the average age at which suspects aged between 12 and 24 commit an offence for the first time rose from 17.5 to 17.8 years.
The share of young people aged between 15 and 24 who indicated they had been victims of common crime, including violence, property or vandalism offences, declined between 2012 and 2019, from 26 to 17 percent. At 13 percent, young people were most often the victim of property offences. The share of victims of cyber crime has increased somewhat in recent years: from 16 percent in 2016 to almost 18 percent in 2019. At 8 percent, young people were most often the victim of cyber bullying; 6 percent were the victim of hacking and sales fraud. Of all the various forms of cyber crime, young people under 18 were most often the victim of cyber bullying, while young people above 18 were most often the victim of hacking. Sales fraud occurs approximately just as often among both groups. The general perceived fear of crime among young people fell in particular between 2014 and 2016. While 45 percent of young people aged 15–24 occasionally perceived a general fear of crime in 2014, this share amounted to 40 percent in 2016. This share remained at a comparable level following 2016.
8. Caribbean Netherlands (Chapter 9)
Authors: Suzanne Loozen, Carel Harmsen, Mark Ramaekers
On 1 January 2020, 27 percent of the population in the Caribbean Netherlands was younger than 25 years, i.e. 7 thousand young people. Of the 7 thousand young people, 5,600 lived in Bonaire, 908 in Sint Eustatius and 484 in Saba. More than half of the young people in the Caribbean Netherlands lived with both parents. The share of children who live with one parent was 28 percent. A small share (7 percent) lived independently, either with a partner and/or child or otherwise. The rest of the young people in the Caribbean Netherlands were members of another household. This means, for example, that they live with their partner (and children if any) in the home of their parents or their partner’s parents, have moved in with a brother or sister who lives independently or live with an uncle or aunt. In early 2020, the share of young people in a single-parent family was highest in St Eustatius at 43 percent, followed by Saba at 28 percent and Bonaire at 26 percent. In the period from 2013 up to and including 2017, 392 young adults aged 17 to 25 who were born in the former Netherlands Antilles or Aruba left the Caribbean Netherlands to live in the European Netherlands. This comes down to nearly half of this group of young people. Two-thirds of those who moved to the European Netherlands migrated for study reasons. Young people whose parents have a high household income moved relatively often to the European Netherlands for study. Between 2013 and 2017, a little less than half of the young adults born in the former Netherlands Antilles or Aruba traded Bonaire for the European Netherlands. From Sint Eustatius about 70 percent of this group of young people migrated while that share for Saba was more than 30 percent.
9. Well-being of young people (Chapter 10)
Author: Moniek Coumans
Young adults in the age category 18 to 24 years are generally happy about their lives. Although the share of young adults who indicated that they were happy has fallen from 91 percent in 1997 to 88 percent in 2019, that percentage is still high. Young people were also asked to give their satisfaction with life a score. People with a score of 7 or more are considered to be satisfied. This percentage of satisfied young people has also remained stable for years, at between 85 and 86 percent. Young people often also have a high level of personal well-being. Since the Personal Well-being Index (PWI) measurements started in 2013, the share of young adults with a high level of personal well-being has varied between 63 and 66 percent. In 2017 and 2018, personal well-being was somewhat higher than in previous years. Nearly seven in ten young people enjoyed a high degree of personal well-being in 2019. This is a higher percentage than among adults aged 25 and older, which stood at 64 percent. As in previous years, in 2019 young people relatively often gave themselves a score of 7 or higher in terms of their education or occupation (89 percent), their health and their social life (84 percent in both cases). Young people were also often satisfied with their safety and their neighbourhood. They were least satisfied with their financial future and trust in institutions; slightly more than half of the young adults were positive about both aspects. How is the social life of these young people? The majority of young people, 97 percent, had contact with others at least once each week. Young people saw their friends especially at least weekly (95 percent). Eighty percent of young people also saw family outside the household at least once a week, but less than half (46 percent) of the young people had contact with their neighbours at least once a week. The importance for young adults of regular social contact with others is reflected in their satisfaction with life. This is particularly true with respect to regular contact with friends. Young people without regular contact with friends were considerably less satisfied. In 2019, 23 percent of young people somewhat experienced feelings of loneliness and more than one-tenth experienced extreme loneliness in that year. Nevertheless, half of those who felt extremely lonely are satisfied with their lives.
10. Developments in special education (Chapter 11)
Authors: Tom van Yperen, Afke Donker, Chaja Deen (The Netherlands Youth Institute)
Until 2000, the number of pupils in special education facilities had grown significantly. Attempts have been made to reverse this growth with changes in the educational system. Those changes coincided with reforms of the youth care system. For a better understanding of the developments in youth care and education in the long term, we focus here on trends in the use of special educational facilities over the past 20 years. From 2000 to 2019, yearly 100 to 110 thousand pupils made use of the special primary school and special education. Relatively there is an increase from 3.8 percent to 4.3 percent of all pupils in primary and secondary education. This does not include other forms of support, such as individual support in mainstream schools and facilities for the prevention of school dropout. Statistics on these facilities are not always unambiguous, but it is clear that it concerns another tens of thousands of pupils. The media are critical about the effect of the changes in the educational system. However, to determine this effect, we think it is necessary to study more than just educational statistics. Schools have to deal with problems of young people that are related to pedagogical, sociocultural and societal factors. An effective approach requires educational facilities as well as facilities from youth health care, social work, leisure, and youth care. A proper evaluation asks for research into the impact of policy with regard to education, as well as the municipal youth policy and the system of child and youth care. This requires solid statistics, with more clarity on what special educational support entails and what the results are for the pupils. Further standardization of definitions and data collection also helps. In addition, more clarity is needed about what success indicators are in a comprehensive approach tackling the problems of young people.
Significant, regional differences in the use of youth assistance with accommodation, 2018.