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How did the purchasing power develop in 2021?

In 2021, the purchasing power of the population in the Caribbean Netherlands improved. The population of Bonaire gained 1.1 percent relative to 2020; on St Eustatius this was 0.5 percent, while Saba residents gained 0.1 percent.

To improve the livelihood security in the Caribbean Netherlands, a number of structural steps have been taken since 2019 to raise minimum wages and benefits, lending a boost to local purchasing power. In 2021, the child benefit was raised. The COVID-19 emergency support measures to offset income losses for employees and self-employed were still in effect. Benefits and minimum wages were not adjusted for the deflation in 2020. In 2021, rising average price levels reduced the purchasing power on Bonaire and Saba. On St Eustatius, the average price level fell slightly, which had a favourable effect on purchasing power.

Purchasing power up for the employed population

On all three islands, the median purchasing power improved for people in households with a primary income from employment. On Bonaire the purchasing power grew by 1.7 percent. A median purchasing power development of 1.7 percent means a gain of at least 1.7 percent for one half of the population and less than 1.7 percent for the other half. On St Eustatius and Saba the growth was 0.4 percent and 1.1 percent respectively. Benefit recipients on St Eustatius gained purchasing power, whereas on Bonaire and Saba they faced a loss.

Median purchasing power development by primary source of income, 2021* (year-on-year % change)
Bonaire St Eustatius Saba
Total population 1.1 0.5 0.1
Income from employment 1.7 0.4 1.1
Income from social benefits -1.0 0.9 -0.9
* Provisional figures

Most people gained purchasing power

Individual changes in purchasing power differ from person to person. In 2021, most people in the Caribbean Netherlands benefited from improved purchasing power. On Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, the respective shares of the population who were positively affected were 53, 56 and 51 percent. Likewise, for more than half of the employed population the purchasing power went up. On St Eustatius, more than 3 out of 4 persons in households with mainly income from social benefits gained purchasing power, whereas on Bonaire and Saba the purchasing power fell for most social benefit recipients.

Persons with improved purchasing power by primary source of income, 2021* (%)
Bonaire St Eustatius Saba
Total population 53 56 51
Income from employment 55 55 54
Income from social benefits 30 76 25
* Provisional figures
1.1% purchasing power growth on Bonaire

Young people benefited most often

On all three islands, people in households with a main earner up to the age of 40 were most likely to benefit from improved purchasing power. On St Eustatius, 67 percent of this group saw an increase in purchasing power; on Bonaire and Saba, this was 58 percent. The majority of these main earners are employed and in the process of climbing the career ladder. Their incomes rise as they gain more work experience and obtain better-paying jobs. In households with a middle-aged main earner, most people gained purchasing power as well. The same applies to households on St Eustatius with a main earner over the age of 60.

Persons with improved purchasing power by age of main earner, 2021* (%)
Bonaire St Eustatius Saba
Under 40 yrs 58 67 58
40 to 59 yrs 56 51 56
60 yrs and over 42 56 35
* Provisional figures

More data on purchasing power development

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Explanation of symbols

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. figure is unknown, insufficiently reliable or confidential
* provisional figure
** revised provisional figure
(between two numbers) inclusive
0 (0.0) less than half of unit concerned
2016–2017 2016 to 2017 inclusive
2016/2017 average for the years 2016 up to and including 2017
2016/’17 crop year, financial year, school year etc., beginning in 2016 and ending in 2017
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