Edition 2022

Foto omschrijving: A woman goes through the front door of her flat with a full shopping bag.

What do we spend money on?

An average household spent more than €35 thousand in 2020. One third of a household budget is spent on housing, water and energy; almost one fifth on food, beverages and stimulants such as alcohol and tobacco. Outside the home, a quarter is spent on transport, recreation and accommodation and food services.

Waar geven we ons geld aan uit?What do we spend money on?Huisvesting, water en energieHousing, water and energy€ 11 821Vervoer, recreatie en horecaTransport, recreation, bars and restaurants, hotels etc.€ 8 646Voedings- en genotmiddelenFood, drinks and tobacco€ 5 627Kleding, schoenen, woninginrichtingen huishoudelijke apparaten€ 3 680OverigeOther expenditure€ 5 666

Every five years, CBS conducts a Budget surveynoot1 among Dutch households to collect information on household spending. During the coronavirus pandemic, shifts in spending changed the average household spending pattern in 2020. Various measures to control the spread of the coronavirus gave households fewer spending opportunities for certain goods and services. In comparison with 2015, a smaller proportion was spent on clothing, transport, recreation, culture and accommodation and food services in 2020. On the other hand, a larger share of income was spent on housing, furnishings and food.

Household expenditure pattern (% of total expenditure)
Soort besteding 2020* 2015
Housing, water and energy 33.2 31.5
Food 12.6 11
Transport 11.2 12.9
Recreation and culture 8.5 9.6
Upholstery and appliances 6.5 5.4
Restaurants and hotels 4.7 5.9
Clothing and footwear 3.9 4.7
Communication 3.5 3.4
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco 3.4 3.0
Other 12.5 12.6
* Provisional figures

Singles spend more on housing

Spending patterns are not the same in every household and vary by household composition. People living alone spend a larger share of their money on housing, water and energy than those living together. Couples spend relatively more money on recreation and accommodation and food services. There are also differences in spending patterns between people living alone. For instance, a man living alone will on average spend a smaller share on clothes but a larger proportion on alcohol and tobacco than a woman living alone.

Household expenditure pattern by household composition, 2020* (% of total expenditure)
Samenstelling huishouden Housing, water and energy Transport, recreation and accommodation and food services Food, beverages and tobacco Clothing, footwear, home furnishings and household appliances Other
Private households 33.2 24.4 16.0 10.4 16.0
Single-person household (man) 39.8 22.1 17.1 7.7 13.5
Single-person household (woman) 42.3 17.4 15.3 9.5 15.4
Single-parent family 33.7 22.3 15.9 11.2 17.1
Couple with child(ren) 27.3 27.6 15.9 11.9 17.1
Couple without child(ren) 33.3 25.4 15.6 10.1 15.5
* Provisional figures

Higher income means smaller proportion spent on housing

Spending patterns are also influenced by the level of household income. As household income increases, a smaller proportion of the budget goes towards housing, water and energy. The same applies, albeit to a lesser extent, to expenditure on food, beverages and tobacco. In contrast, as income increases, the share of expenditure on transport, recreation, accommodation and food services, clothing and home furnishing rises.

Household expenditure pattern by income group, 2020* (% of total expenditure)
Inkomensgroep Housing, water and energy Food, beverages and tobacco Transport, recreation and accommodation and food services Clothing, footwear, home furnishings and household appliances Other
1st 10% group (low income) 40.9 19.2 15.9 7.5 16.6
2nd 10% group 43.1 18.8 15.5 7.9 14.5
3rd 10% group 40.6 18 17.5 8.5 15.4
4th 10% group 38.6 15.6 20.6 9.3 15.8
5th 10% group 37.1 16.1 22.6 8.6 15.6
6th 10% group 35.3 16.2 23 9.4 16.1
7th 10% group 32.5 15.9 24.6 10.5 16.5
8th 10% group 30.1 15.2 26.6 11.6 16.4
9th 10% group 28.2 15.2 28.7 11.8 16.2
10th 10% group (high income) 25.6 14.1 31.2 13 16.1
* Provisional figures

The questions


This web publication was developed by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in cooperation with Textcetera The Hague.
If you have a question or comment about this publication, please contact us.

Disclaimer and copyright


On this website, CBS uses functional cookies on this website to allow proper functioning of the site. These cookies do not contain personal user data and have minimal or no consequences for your privacy. In addition, CBS uses analytical cookies to track visitor statistics, including the number of page views, which topics users are searching, and how visitors reach our website. The purpose is to gain insight into the functioning of the website in order to improve your user experience. We minimise traceability of visitors to our website as much as possible by anonymising the final octet (group of eight bits) of each IP address. These data are not shared with other parties. CBS does not use tracking cookies. Tracking cookies are cookies that track visitors during their browsing of other websites.

The functional and analytical cookies have minimal or no consequences for your privacy. In accordance with current regulations, these cookies may be placed without prior consent.

More information (in Dutch only): https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/telecommunicatie/vraag-en-antwoord/mag-een-website-ongevraagd-cookies-plaatsen

Explanation of symbols

Empty cell figure not applicable
. 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
2004/’05–2016/’17 crop year etc. 2004/’05 up to and including 2016/’17

Due to rounding, some totals may not correspond to the sum of the separate figures.

About CBS

CBS responds to developments in Dutch society by providing statistical information as facts that matter, and communicates on these facts with the outside world. In doing so, CBS offers insights into current developments in society and helps answer policy questions. Research at CBS is focused on broad trends in society and how these are interrelated.

CBS has offices in The Hague, Heerlen and Bonaire with altogether approximately 2,000 staff. A society-oriented working attitude is essential to CBS. CBS provides figures which are relevant to society. Every year, CBS publishes around 600 statistical studies. Virtually every day, CBS data and figures are communicated to the outside world via news releases, video messages and through social media. This results in some 50,000 articles per year in daily newspapers and on news sites.

For more information on CBS’s tasks, organisation and publications, go to cbs.nl/en-gb.


Should you have any questions or need more information, please contact us.


Concept & image editor

Irene van Kuik


Hendrik Zuidhoek

Janneke Hendriks

Richard Jollie


Gert Jan Wijma

Karolien van Wijk

Michel van Kooten

Paul de Winden

Ronald van der Bie

Sidney Vergouw



Gabriëlle de Vet

Frans Dinnissen

Final editor

Elma Wobma

We thank all CBS colleagues who have contributed to this edition of The Netherlands in numbers.