Labour and income - Figures
Income and wealth
In 2017, the average standardised household income in the Netherlands amounted to 28.8 thousand euros. Households had on average 3.6 percent more disposable income in 2017 compared to 2011, when the average standardised income stood at 27.8 thousand euros. Due to the economic crisis, the average household income declined over the period 2011–2013. It began to build up again as the economy started to recover in 2014. The standardised disposable household income is calculated in such a way as to enable comparison among the various households.
The public’s purchasing power increased by 0.5 percent in 2017; this was still 3.0 percent in 2016. Employees saw the largest rise at a median 1.4 percent. They profited from several tax measures such as the increased tax credit for employed persons, as well as an improved labour market. On the other hand, pensioners saw no or only limited indexation of their supplementary pensions in 2017. As a result, their spending power declined by 0.3 percent. It was still up by 0.8 percent in 2016.
Of the more than 7.3 million households in 2017, there were 599 thousand with an income below the low-income threshold. This means they were exposed to the risk of poverty. The share of households exposed to such risk rose from 7.9 percent in 2016 to 8.2 percent in 2017. For at least four years, the share of households with a low income had risen, from 3.2 to 3.3 percent.
In 2017, 21.5 percent of young households (for example up to the age of 25) had a low income. The smallest poverty risk was for the households aged 65 and over, namely 2.8 percent. In the period 2014–2017, the poverty risk declined across virtually all age groups. Only in households with a main breadwinner aged between 45 and 65 years, the poverty risk increased slightly, mainly in the group between 55 and 65 years.
Despite economic recovery, a growing number of persons in this group became economically inactive in the period 2013–2017. Once they are out of work, older people find it difficult to re-enter the labour force. This is how some of them have ended up below the poverty line.
In 2017, median household wealth in the Netherlands amounted to 28.3 thousand euros, almost 6 thousand more than one year previously. Wealth – assets minus debts – was mainly higher due to appreciating home prices. Despite this rise, household wealth is still not at the level of 2008, when median wealth exceeded 53 thousand euros. If home ownership is not included, there is still a slight rise in household wealth: from 13.7 thousand euros in 2016 to 14.1 thousand euros in 2017.
Total student loan debt was 15.5 billion euros in 2017, up 1.6 billion euros on the previous year. Total student loan debt is growing each year. It was up by over 60 percent relative to 2011 (9.5 billion euros). Nearly 1.1 million households had a student debt in 2017. This is 82 thousand more households than in 2016. Furthermore, the median amount of student debt went up from 7.4 thousand euros in 2016 to 8.1 thousand euros in 2017.
With median household wealth at 298.5 thousand euros, the municipality of Laren (Noord-Holland province) was the wealthiest municipality in 2017. The top 10 wealthiest municipalities were predominantly small municipalities in the province of Noord-Brabant. There are relatively many elderly residents, who have accumulated considerable amounts of assets over the years.
The lowest median wealth was seen in Rotterdam (2,800 euros). The Hague and Amsterdam ranked in the top 10 lowest wealth levels as well. The major cities have relatively many young residents, benefit recipients and persons with a non-western migration background. These are the groups who tend to have a low net worth.