Foto omschrijving: Een brugklasser tilt al zijn schoolboeken voor het nieuwe schooljaar de klas uit.

Annual Report Youth Monitor 2023 Summary


Author: Ruud van Herk (Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport)

On 19 June 2023, the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG), youth assistance providers and client organisations signed the Youth Reform Agenda, setting out the ambitions for improving youth care. This agenda is intended to support the creation of a wide range of initiatives, such as defining the duty to provide youth assistance, reducing the duration of treatment, procuring care at a regional level, strengthening local teams, providing preventive health care, focusing on mental health, standardising procurement processes and reducing the administrative burden. These initiatives will be linked to targets, which will, wherever possible, be monitored using data that is already available. The Youth Monitor is a key source of these data, especially when it comes to identifying developments in the use of youth assistance and associated social factors. These developments are explored in this Annual Report 2023 of the National Youth Monitor.

Although it is often assumed that there will be more demand for youth assistance when life is more difficult for young people, recent Youth Monitors have shown that the use of youth assistance rose in line with increasing prosperity in the Netherlands and a relatively high level of well-being reported by young people. This picture changed during the coronavirus crisis, with reductions in 2020 in both the use of youth assistance and reported levels of well-being amongst young people. Before the coronavirus crisis in 2020, the average annual increase in the use of youth assistance was 3.3 percent. In 2021 the rate of increase was 1.5 percent, and Statistics Netherlands (CBS) expects the figures for 2022 to show an increase of 1.6 percent,noot1 which would indicate that the rise in the use of youth assistance is stabilising. Happiness and satisfaction amongst all age groups also fell in 2021, before levelling off in 2022 at approximately the same levels as in 2021. How does the use of youth assistance now, in the aftermath of the pandemic, relate to prosperity, reported well-being and other social factors affecting young people in 2022?

Youth care use and social indicators 1.1.1 Youth care use and social indicators 2 0 2 2 2 0 2 1 10.5%* 10.6% Youth care of young people under 23 years have received youth care 2 0 2 2 2 0 2 1 5.7% 6.2% Living and growing up of minors live in a family on income support 2 0 2 2 2 0 2 1 51.7%* 50.2% School of third-year pupils in VMBO 2 0 2 2 2 0 2 1 77.2% 73.8% Work of 15 to 26-year-olds have a paid job 2 0 2 2 2 0 2 1 1.7%* 1.6% Crime of young people aged 12 to 24 years were registered crime suspects 2 0 2 2 2 0 2 1 60.0% 58.0% Alcohol consumption of young people aged 12 to 24 years occasionally drink alcohol * These figures are provisional

Chapter 2 discusses the demographic developments amongst young people. This chapter notes, according to the most recent prognosis, that the number of young people (aged 0 to 24) – 4.9 million at the start of 2023 – will increase in the next few years. That number is then expected to decrease between 2025 and 2031, a period in which there will be a large group of young people aged over 25. After the small ‘coronavirus baby boom’ in 2021, the number of births fell again. The number of teenage mothers also decreased from 3,5 thousand in 2002 to 1,1 thousand in 2022. More young immigrants came to the Netherlands in 2022 as a result of the war in Ukraine (35 thousand). Both young people who were studying and young people who were working continued to live at home for longer. This trend confirms the hypothesis that it is becoming increasingly difficult for young people to rent or buy a home.

Chapter 3 describes the development of the use of youth care (the total of youth assistance, youth protection and juvenile rehabilitation). According to provisional figures, 467 thousand young people aged under 23 were receiving youth care in 2022. The final figures are expected to show an increase in the use of youth care. Within youth care, the number of young people in receipt of youth assistance is the greatest, with 452 thousand young people aged under 23 receiving youth assistance in kind. The growth of youth assistance is especially noticeable in on-site outreach care, often related to mental health services for young people. A table produced by CBSnoot2 shows that the growth is mainly seen in youth assistance without residence. Past research has also shown that the use of youth assistance is greatest in the quintile with the lowest income, especially when it comes to youth assistance with residence.noot3

There are still significant differences in the use of youth assistance between different municipalities. Tiel, for instance, continues to rank first in the use of in-kind youth assistance, with 23 percent of all young people aged under 18 – almost 1 in 4 – receiving this support. The figure for Terneuzen is 22.3 percent. At the other end of the scale are Urk (5.3 percent), Maassluis (6.6 percent), Staphorst (6.7 percent) and Westvoorne (6.9 percent).noot4 In Rotterdam, at 9.7 percent, use of youth assistance is also low compared to other large cities. It is striking that the municipalities with proportionally the largest share of young people amongst their population, such as Urk and Staphorst, register low use of youth assistance and low numbers of single-parent households (4 and 5 percent, respectively). This appears to be linked to the relatively high number of Reformed Christians and large families in these areas.

Within youth protection, the focus on processes that started in a crisis situation involved looking at provisional family supervision orders and provisional guardianship measures in 2018 and 2022. The share of provisional family supervision orders remained stable at 16 percent, while provisional guardianship measures rose from 16 percent to 20 percent. The total number of both guardianship measures and family supervision orders decreased in 2022.noot5 In the same year, the Veilig Thuis (Safe at Home) organisations issued 134 thousand recommendations (24.5 percent more than in 2019) on how to respond to a suspicion of domestic violence or child abuse, while the number of reports of suspected child abuse or domestic violence decreased from 232 thousand in 2019 to 123 thousand in 2022.

A key indicator for the use of youth assistance is the number of children growing up in families that depend on income support (see Chapter 4).noot6 There has been a change in the ratio of Netherlands-born children dependent on income support (71 percent) to foreign-born children dependent on income support. Last year, the percent of Netherlands-born children dependent on income support was 75 percent. The largest group of children dependent on income support who were born outside the Netherlands have a Syrian background. Two-thirds of all children dependent on income support grow up in single-parent households. This chapter also discusses young people who have student debts. The greatest debts are owed by 24-year-olds, of whom 41 percent have finished studying and are now repaying their loans. The others are still studying and incurring student debt. Among 24-year-olds, at the start of 2022, the average student debt amounted to €20.9 thousand.

Chapter 5, which discusses schooling, reveals that in 2022, more than half of third-year pupils were in prevocational secondary education (VMBO) (51.7 percent); the others were in senior general secondary education (HAVO) and pre-university education (VWO). There are geographical differences: 57 percent of third-year pupils in Rotterdam were in VMBO, compared to 37 percent in Utrecht. There are also more pupils in VMBO in the north and east of the country, in contrast with the Randstad conurbation and large areas of North Brabant and Limburg. Girls often do somewhat better at school than boys. It is striking that many VMBO pupils were receiving a lower level of education than was recommended by the school, while the level of HAVO and VWO pupils’ education was generally higher than the school’s recommendation.

Participation in the labour market increased in 2022 amongst young people in education aged 15–26 (Chapter 6). Participation amongst young people who are not in education remained the same. For this group, labour market participation does increase with age. In 2021, Schiermonnikoog, Urk and Staphorst had the highest labour market participation amongst young people. Proportionally, Vaals, Wassenaar, Wageningen, Laren and Maastricht had the fewest young people in work, probably for various reasons. Labour market participation was also relatively low in the large cities. In 2022, there were 266 thousand young people with unused labour potential, which means that these young people would have liked to be in work but were involuntarily unemployed or not immediately available.

Chapter 7 explores substance use and mental health amongst young people. This chapter shows that there is little development in terms of substance use. Although fewer young adults smoked cigarettes, the consumption of cannabis and alcohol remained stable. However, the percent of smokers and cannabis users who experienced mental health issues, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and depression was twice the percent amongst young people who did not use those substances. Girls were more likely to experience mental health issues than boys.

Chapter 8 outlines the status of crime amongst young people, in terms of both suspects and victims. Following a reduction during the coronavirus pandemic, the trend for the number of young people suspected of a crime rose in 2022, with reports of pickpocketing and shoplifting in particular. Geographical differences also play a role in this area: the large cities and coastal municipalities in particular have a larger share of young suspects. The share was greatest amongst 19- and 20-year-old young men (4.1 percent). For young women, the peak was amongst 15-year-olds, at 0.9 percent. A quarter of young people reported in 2021 that they had been the victim of traditional crime; the same figure in 2012 was 40 percent. In online crime, 1 in 10 young people were the victim of online threats and harassment. One in 5 young people were the victim of domestic violence. Of the young people who experienced domestic violence, more than 1 in 3 had mental health problems as a result.

On 1 January 2023, there were 7.6 thousand young people living on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Chapter 9), representing 26 percent of the total population. Between 2011 and 2016, 1,364 young people born in the former Netherlands Antilles or Aruba left the islands, of whom 40 percent returned within seven years. In the 2022–2023 academic year, 4.9 thousand young people were in education. More than half of these young people were in secondary education or senior secondary vocational education, under the Caribbean education system (Saba and Sint Eustatius) or the European-Dutch system (Bonaire). In 2022, 1,210 young people aged 15 to 24 were in paid employment and 1,470 young people were unemployed. Figures from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) show that the labour market participation rate amongst young people in the Caribbean region is comparable with the rate in Mexico, Colombia and Costa Rica; this provides a more realistic comparison than the rate in the Netherlands. Finally, this edition also explores where most young people live, with figures provided for each Caribbean municipality at a district level.

The social indicators discussed above may also be linked to young people’s well-being (Chapter 10). This chapter focuses on young adults aged 18 to 24 and involves a range of indicators. What stands out? In 2022, 79 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds reported that they were happy, and 75 percent were satisfied with their lives. This shows a change from 1997, when 91 percent of young adults were happy and 85 percent were satisfied with their lives. In 1997, one in 27 young people aged under 18 were in receipt of youth assistance, while in 2022 this figure was one in 7.3.noot7 The decrease in scores for happiness and life satisfaction was particularly noticeable during the coronavirus years. During that period, satisfaction fell from 81 percent in 2020 to 77 percent in 2021. This share remained roughly stable in 2022. Personal well-being in terms of a social life recovered after the coronavirus pandemic, from 72 percent in 2021 to 77 percent in 2022. Again, young women score lower than young men. Young adults living at home with two parents were most likely to report high levels of personal well-being. There were more emotionally lonely young adults in 2022 than in 2019, the year when this indicator was first measured. This reveals that, at 16 percent, the 22- to 24-year-old age group were more likely to be emotionally lonely than 18- to 21-year-olds.

Chapter 11 focuses on young people who drop out of education. The reasons why young people drop out of school include study programmes not meeting pupils’ expectations (35 percent), pupils having mental health problems (27 percent) and poor organisation of programmes (26 percent). The number of early school leavers increased almost annually from 2015–2016 onwards, but decreased in 2019–2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2022, numbers rose again by 7 thousand young people. In the country as a whole, 3 percent of young people dropped out of education. In relative terms, particularly large numbers of young people dropped out of education in Heerlen, Laren and Vaals. In absolute terms, this mainly affected MBO4 students, followed by MBO2 students. The majority of early school leavers (62 percent) entered work after leaving education, while approximately 19 percent continued in education. At 5.6 percent, the share of early school leavers aged 18 to 24 in the Netherlands is low compared with figures for Europe. The Netherlands has met the European target to maintain the share of early school leavers at below 9 percent.

What can we conclude, on the basis of these findings, regarding the relationship between the use of youth assistance in the aftermath of the coronavirus and prosperity, reported well-being and other social factors affecting young people in 2022? To summarise, we see that young adults’ happiness and well-being stabilised, with young women reporting more difficulty than young men. That said, the world of 2022 was different from that of 2019, with war in Europe, a nitrogen crisis and a housing shortage (especially for young people). At the same time, we expect the use of youth assistance to increase by 1.6 percent, as was the case in 2021. The scores for social indicators reveal a mixed picture. In 2022, fewer children lived in a family that received income support, Veilig Thuis received fewer reports of domestic violence and child abuse, and the labour market for young adults continued to recover. Substance use amongst young people was relatively similar to that reported in 2021. On the other hand, juvenile delinquency recovered after the coronavirus pandemic. The reported lack of safety and the increase in mental health problems, especially amongst girls and young women, continue to cause concern.

While it is useful to have data at a national level, there are significant differences between different municipalities, age groups and sexes. Many different factors affect the use of youth care, and it is challenging to determine which factors are decisive for which target group in a given municipality or region. Vaals and Laren both have a relatively high number of school leavers and relatively low labour market participation amongst young adults, but are the problems – and the solutions – the same in both Vaals and Laren? To get a grip on policy, we must begin by looking for data on scores for social indicators. Initially, these data generate more questions than answers. Historical usage provides some insight, but this diminishes as social circumstances change. Policy-makers should start by looking at factors that can and cannot be influenced by policies.

The Youth Monitor aims to raise questions, using data on the use of youth care and social indicator scores. To get a better idea of the reality behind these figures, governments, scientists and other actors are challenged to carry out further benchmark (and other) research to explain all these different scores in different municipalities and regions. This can help to introduce more data-based policy into the implementation of the Youth Reform Agenda. A wealth of data are available, of which only a core selection is presented in the Youth Monitor’s Annual Report. The search can begin on CBS’ National Youth Monitor website and end with the Youth Monitor StatLine (only available in Dutch) or the regular StatLine, where all kinds of data can be combined.

1. Young people in the Netherlands (Chapter 2)

At the beginning of 2023, the Netherlands had over 4.9 million young people under 25, of whom 3.3 million were minors and more than 1.6 million were young adults. This represented 27 percent of the Dutch population under the age of 25. After a minor ‘baby boom’ during the Coronavirus pandemic in 2021, the number of births declined to 167.5 thousand in 2022. This is in line with the decline in earlier years. A total of 1.1 thousand of these children were born to teenage mothers. However, more young immigrants came to the Netherlands than in the previous year. This increase was mainly due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In total, almost 35 thousand young Ukrainian refugees settled in the Netherlands. Most young people in the Netherlands, 4.4 million, were born here, and more than three-quarters of them also had parents born in the Netherlands, while 23 percent had at least one parent born abroad. More than 506 thousand young people were born abroad. In early 2023, 16 percent of all minors were living in a single-parent household. A family situation like this may have arisen due to separating parents, the loss of one parent, or parents never having lived together. This share has continued to expand over the past two decades, just as the number of children that lived with parents who are not married. Sixty-four percent of the young adults lived with their parents. This share was 60 percent in 2013 and 58 percent in 2003. At all ages, the percentage of young people who have left their parents’ home is smaller than a decade ago. Among those of younger ages, the share of people living away from their parents decreased relatively quickly after 2015; this decline coincided with the introduction of the student loan system. But even among the older young people, a smaller share were living away from home at the beginning of 2023 than at the beginning of 2013. One explanation for these trends may be that it has become increasingly difficult for young adults to live on their own. Rental and purchase prices of dwellings have risen and there are fewer rental homes and rooms available.

Since the introduction of the Child and Youth Act in 2015, there was a substantial growth in the number of youth care recipients, which appears to have stabilised in 2022. In 2021 as well as in 2022, 1 in 10 young people under age 23 received youth care. In 2022, this involved 467 thousand young people. When broken down by the different types of youth care, it is noticeable that the size of the largest group, youth assistance without residence, remained almost the same as in 2021. The number of young people receiving other types of youth care decreased. Youth assistance is essentially intended for people up to the age of 18, with some types of youth assistance such as foster care continuing until 21 years of age as standard since 1 July 2018. In exceptional cases, youth assistance may continue until the age of 23. An increasing number of minors were receiving youth assistance within the young person’s network. As from 2015, the number of young people with day care and family-oriented youth assistance also increased, whereas district aid and foster care decreased, as did placement in a secure institution. This reflects policies to phase out this form of assistance. In recent years, 4 percent of new youth assistance cases involved a crisis situation. This is most prevalent in residential forms of youth assistance. The duration of a concluded youth assistance measure increased from an average of 337 days in 2018 to an average of 417 days in 2022. During the same period, the average duration of a concluded youth protection measure increased from 867 to 942 days. The type of youth assistance with the largest increase of the average duration is foster care. It should be taken into account that since 1 July 2018, foster care no longer stops at 18 years of age by default, but continues until 21 years of age. The Safe Home organisations provided 134 thousand recommendations in 2022 on how to act in situations of domestic violence and or child abuse, or suspicion thereof. This is 24.5 percent more than in 2019. The number of reports they received of a situation or suspicion of domestic violence and or child abuse declined from 132 thousand in 2019 to 123 thousand in 2022.

3. Growing up under unequal circumstances (Chapter 4)

At the end of 2022, there were 186 thousand minors in families on income support in the Netherlands. This is equivalent to 5.7 percent of all minors, which is less than in previous years. Between 2011 and 2016, the number of minors in families on income support increased. This increase was related to the financial crisis that started in 2008. Seventy-one percent of minors in families on income support were born in the Netherlands. The remaining 29 percent of them were foreign-born and therefore migrants. This ratio has changed slightly from 2021, when 75 percent were born in the Netherlands and 25 percent were born abroad. Although many children in families on income support were born in the Netherlands, they are often of foreign origin, as at least one of their parents was born abroad. At the end of 2022, children with a Syrian origin were the largest subgroup among the group of children in families on income support with a foreign origin, followed by Moroccan children. There are more children in families on income support originating from refugee countries, such as Syria, Somalia, Eritrea, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran than from traditional migration countries, such as Turkey, Morocco, Suriname, Caribbean Netherlands and Indonesia. It was not only minors living in families on income support; this also included 56 thousand young people aged 18 to 24. This is 3.6 percent of the total number of young people aged 18 to 24 years. The number rose from 42 thousand in 2011 to 58 thousand in 2021 and then fell to 56 thousand in 2022. At the beginning of January 2022, 650 thousand young people aged 18 to 24 had student loan debt. Over three quarters of them were still studying at secondary vocational (MBO), higher vocational (HBO) or university level and were building up debt, while almost a quarter of them had already finished studying and were paying off their debt. Among the 650 thousand young people aged 18 to 24 with a student loan debt, the average debt was 11.8 thousand euros. Since the introduction of the new student loan system in 2015, average student loan debt has risen sharply. At the beginning of 2022, young people aged 24 had the largest debt, averaging 20.9 thousand euros.

4. School (Chapter 5)

In the 2022/’23 academic year, there were 189 thousand pupils in the third year of secondary education. Slightly over half of them, 51.7 percent, attended prevocational secondary education (VMBO), and the others were in senior general secondary education (HAVO) or pre-university education (VWO) tracks. This is the second year in a row that slightly more pupils are attending VMBO. Pupils of Turkish or Moroccan origin were more often in VMBO tracks than pupils of Dutch origin, but less often than five years ago. In contrast, pupils of Dutch-Caribbean origin were more often in VMBO tracks than in the previous five years. Among those who were in the third year of secondary education in the 2022/’23 academic year, 161 thousand had received a school recommendation in the 2019/’20 academic year. This recommendation is given to pupils in the eighth grade of primary education, which enables them to register for a type of education. The majority (65 percent) were at the level of the school recommendation in their third year of secondary education. Just over a quarter were above and 9 percent were below the school recommendation. Girls more often exceeded their school recommendation than boys. In comparison with the previous academic year, the number of secondary school pupils of Ukrainian origin increased. In the 2022/'23 academic year, almost 8 thousand of them were in secondary education. Children who are new to the Netherlands can attend bridging classes aimed at teaching pupils Dutch so that they can then pursue Dutch education. Those classes usually take place in the first grade of secondary education. As a consequence, most pupils of Ukrainian origin were in the first grade, over 6 thousand. The pass rate in secondary education fell by 0.5 percentage points in 2022 compared to the previous year, reaching 94.4 percent. However, despite this decline, the rate is still higher than in the years before the COVID-19 pandemic.

5. Work (Chapter 6)

In 2022, there were approximately 2.6 million young people aged 15 to 26 years living in the Netherlands, of whom almost 1.8 million were pupils or students and over 800 thousand were not in education. Over three quarters of these young people, 77 percent, were in paid employment. In 2022, more young people aged 15 to 26 who were in education were employed and less likely to be unemployed than in 2021. Among those who were not in education, employment and unemployment rates remained more or less the same. There were 592 thousand young people who were unemployed, of whom 45 percent were looking for a job, and/or were immediately available for work. This group is referred to as the unused labour potential without work, which consists of unemployed and semi-unemployed people. The share of unused labour potential without work among those in education was smaller (43 percent) than among those not in education (53 percent). Pupils and students mostly worked part-time up to 20 hours per week at 66 percent, while those not in education relatively often worked full-time; 35 hours or more per week at 63 percent. In 2022, pupils and students worked on average 17 hours a week, while among those not in education, this was twice as many at 35 hours. Among young people in education who were employed, 23 percent wanted to work more hours, while among those not in education, 14 percent wanted to work more hours. When pupils and students work, they usually work in a secondary job. Among those not in education, it was determined how often they are economically independent. People are considered to be economically independent if they have a personal income from labour or business activities that is at least the same as according to policy values applied to individual minimum income or higher. This threshold is equal to 70 percent of the statutory net minimum wage, or the net income support of a single person. In 2021, approximately 80 percent of young people not in education and working were economically independent. Since 2013, this share has risen more than 6 percentage points. Among young people who are not economically independent, 44 percent want to work more hours.

6. Substance use and mental health among young people (Chapter 7)

Between 2014 and 2022, among young adults aged 18 to 24 years, the share of smokers decreased. In 2014, 40 percent of young adult men smoked compared to 31 percent of young adult women. In 2022, this share was down to 29 and 23 percent respectively. This did not change among young people aged 12 to 17 years, as 7 percent of them said they smoked ocasionally. The share of young adults smoking cannabis has not changed during this period as well. In 2022, 7 percent of 12 to 17‑year-olds and 26 percent of young adults said they had smoked cannabis from time to time in the past year. The share of heavy drinkers in 2022 was almost equal to that of 2014. In 2022, 5 percent of young people aged 12 to 17 were heavy drinkers. This was 22 percent among young adults. On the other hand, in 2022 the share of heavy drinkers among young adults was slightly higher than in 2016 (18 percent) and 2020 (16 percent). Among 12 to 24‑year-olds who smoked or used cannabis, the percentage with mental health complaints, symptoms of insomnia, anxiety and depression was twice as high as among young people who did not. Girls and young women were more likely to have psychological complaints than boys and young men. For example, among girls and young women, on average 20 and 27 percent had trouble sleeping in 2021 and 2022, respectively, while among boys and young men this was 13 and 22 percent. A total of 17 percent of girls and 28 percent of young women had mental health problems according to the Mental Healthy Inventory (MHI-5) as well, relative to 7 percent of boys and 15 percent of young men. Also, girls and young women were almost twice as likely to have anxiety symptoms as boys and young men. Among underage boys, autism spectrum disorders and ADHD/ADD were more common than among underage girls. Among young adults, there were no statistically significant differences between men and women.

7. Crime (Chapter 8)

The share of young people aged 12 to 24 years registered as crime suspects in 2022 was 1.7 percent. This means that the share of young registered suspects increased again in 2022, after a decline during the coronavirus crisis in 2020 and 2021. Young women are less likely to be suspects than young men. While for boys there is a difference between 12- to 14‑year-olds and 15- to 24‑year-olds, for girls there is little difference between the age groups. In 2022, there were mainly more underage girls suspects. The highest share of registered suspects among boys and girls is in the category of property crime. Police rarely register girls as suspects of drug and (fire) arms offences, and the share of vandalism and crimes against public order is much lower among girls than among boys. Among adult young women, proportionally fewer traffic offences occurred as well. The share of first offenders among young people has increased since 2020. The share of multiple offenders, habitual offenders and extreme habitual offenders actually decreased in both age groups. Young people are not only likely to end up in crime, they can also become victims of it. In 2021, 24 percent of young people aged 15 to 24 said they had been victims of traditional crime. In addition, 21 percent of young people were victims of online crime in 2022. With 10 percent, online defamation and harassment was most prevalent, while 9 percent encountered online scams and fraud, and 6 percent of them were hacked. Among young people aged 16 to 23, 19 percent indicated they had been victims of domestic violence. Approximately 1 in 10 of them were victims of physical violence at home. An additional 1 in 10 had experienced coercive control at home and over 5 percent had experienced stalking by an ex-partner. Thirty-two percent of young people aged 16 to 23 faced sexually transgressive behaviour. Young women, at 50 percent, were more often victims of this than young men (15 percent). Almost 4 in 10 young women dealt with offline sexual harassment, 3 in 10 with online sexual harassment and 2 in 10 with physical sexual violence.

8. Young people in the Caribbean Netherlands (Chapter 9)

On 1 January 2023, 7.6 thousand people aged 0 to 24 years lived in the Caribbean Netherlands, which equals 26 percent of the total population. Among them, 6.2 thousand young people lived on Bonaire, 0.9 thousand on St Eustatius and 0.5 thousand on Saba. On Bonaire, the number of young people increased relative to 2018, on St Eustatius the number of young people remained the same and on Saba the number dropped. This is mainly due to a decline in the number of students from North America who have left Saba since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Most young people on Bonaire lived in the Nikiboko neighbourhood. On St Eustatius, most young people lived in Union and on Saba in The Bottom. Between 2011 and 2016, a total of 1.4 thousand young people born in the former Netherlands Antilles or Aruba left Bonaire, St Eustatius or Saba. More than 40 percent of them returned within seven years. In the 2022/’23 academic year, over 4,9 thousand pupils were enrolled in publicly funded primary, secondary or intermediate vocational education in the Caribbean Netherlands. Over half of these pupils were enrolled in secondary or intermediate vocational education. In 2022, the share of young people in employment was highest on Bonaire (49.5 percent), followed by St Eustatius (30.4 percent) and Saba (18.3 percent). Among the working young people on Bonaire, over half worked in the accommodation and food services, trade or education sector. The employment rate of 15 to 24 year-olds in education in the three South American countries Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico in 2021 was similar to that of the Caribbean Netherlands in 2020 and 2022. In addition to young people in paid employment in the Caribbean Netherlands, 1,470 of them were not in paid employment in 2022 and 150 of them were unemployed. This represents 10.7 percent of the labour force aged 15 to 24 years. Relatively many young people in the Caribbean Netherlands, namely 8.6 percent, were not working and, in addition, not in education relative to those in the European Netherlands. These are the so-called NEETs: Not in Employment, Education or Training. The percentage of NEETs in the Dutch Caribbean was low in comparison with the numbers of Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico (26.7, 25.2 and 18.1 percent, respectively).

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

In 2022, 79 percent of young adults in the age category 18 to 24‑year-olds reported that they were generally happy, over 75 percent of them were satisfied with their lives, and 59 percent of them rated their personal well-being as high. Feelings of happiness, life satisfaction and personal well-being among young adults were significantly lower during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021 than in previous years. In 2022, these aspects were not yet back at pre-2020 levels, however, this did vary for the different sub-aspects of personal well-being. In terms of finance, personal well-being was rated lower than in 2021. The drop was largest in the area of financial future. In 2021, half of the young adults still rated 7 or higher in this area, while in 2022 this was 42 percent. Although the decline in trust in institutions in 2020 and 2021 did not continue in 2022, at 48 percent this trust is still lower than in 2020 (64 percent). Personal well-being on social life did return to pre-pandemic levels at 77 percent. Young adults were more often in contact with others in 2022. However, 40 percent of young adults said they would like to have more contact with their family and 53 percent would like to have more interaction with friends. The overall perception of loneliness did not change substantially over the years. However, the percentage of young adults experiencing strong emotional loneliness, or who lack having an emotionally close relationship went up from 9 percent in 2019 to 15 percent in 2021. In 2022, this remained almost the same as the previous year at 14 percent. The majority of young adults in 2022 were found to have at least weekly contact with people different in origin, age or education. For example, 69 percent had contact with someone of a different origin, 80 percent saw, spoke or wrote to people at least five years younger or older every week, and 87 percent had at least weekly contact with someone of a different educational level.

10. Early school-leavers (Chapter 11)

In the 2021/’22 academic year, 35 thousand young people up to 23 years of age left education early, i.e. without a basic qualification, which is 7 thousand more than the previous year. In absolute terms, early school-leavers (ESL) were mainly MBO level 4 students (11.6 thousand) who left education without a qualification, followed by those in MBO level 2 tracks (8.9 thousand). In relation to the total number of pupils or students by type of education, the dropout rate is highest among those who attended an entry-level course (30 percent). The most frequently mentioned reasons for dropping out were that the programme did not match the content with what early school-leavers had in mind after all (35 percent), having psychological problems (27 percent), or a poorly organised programme (26 percent). Twenty-seven percent of all ESL dropouts regretted their decision, but said they had no choice at the time, and 9 percent had regrets and would not have done so now. At the time of survey in autumn 2022, 19 percent of ESL students who left education in 2020/’21 said they were in education, and 9 percent had enrolled for a course. Almost half of the ESL students were planning to pursue education, but did not yet know which programme or when. A quarter of the early school-leavers said they did not plan to start an education programme at a later date. Over a quarter of young people who did not plan to start or continue education, or planned to but did not yet know which programme or when, believed that study finance instead of a loan could help them to eventually start an education course. The possibility of being able to attend an education programme alongside their current job, better guidance and support from school and financial support from the municipality were mentioned relatively often as incentives as well. The percentage of young people without a basic qualification in the Netherlands is relatively low in comparison with other European countries. In 2022, 5.6 percent of young people aged 18 to 24 years in the Netherlands were not in education and did not have any basic qualification. The average share across all European member states was 9.6 percent. The percentage of early school-leavers ranged from 2.3 percent in Croatia to 15.6 percent in Romania.


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1. Inleiding

Ruud van Herk (Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport)

2. Jongeren in Nederland

Sevda Ulusoy-Sönmez

3. Trends in jeugdzorggebruik

Rudi Bakker

4. Opgroeien in ongelijke omstandigheden

Noortje Pouwels-Urlings

5. School

Karlijn Bakker, Bertina Ransijn

6. Werk

Harry Bierings

7. Middelengebruik en psychische gezondheid bij jongeren

Kim Knoops

8. Criminaliteit

Rob Kessels, Math Akkermans, Elianne Derksen

9. Jongeren in Caribisch Nederland

Carel Harmsen, Susanne Loozen, Corina Huisman, Mark Ramaekers

10. Welzijn van jongvolwassenen

Moniek Coumans

11. Voortijdig schoolverlaters

Linda Fernandez Beiro


Linda Fernandez Beiro

Francis van der Mooren

Robert de Vries


Karolien van Wijk