Child poverty in The Netherlands unchanged in 2018

Around 264,000 youngsters were living in ‘poverty’ in The Netherlands last year – meaning the rate has stabilised – according to latest government figures.
And while that figure is largely unchanged from 2017, the number of ‘minors’ in families living on a persistently low income for at least four years dropped by nearly 5,000, to 103,000.
Figures from Statistics Nederlands (CBS) show that after an increase during the so-called ‘crisis years’, the number of children at risk of poverty fell between 2014 and 2017. In 2018, just over eight per cent of all underage children (under 16) were at risk of poverty, and this had been the case for just over three per cent of them.

Mainly children in single-parent families at risk

More than 113,000 children in single-parent families and nearly 147,000 in two-parent families were at risk of poverty in 2018. This equates to almost one-quarter of all children in one-parent families, who are five times more likely to experience poverty than those living in two-parent families. One-parent families have only one main ‘earner’, and are generally more often dependent on state benefits.

In 2018, a poverty risk for one-parent families with two children meant that they had less than 1,600 euros to spend per month. For couples with two children, this was less than 2,000 euros.

Most families at risk live on benefits

In 2018, two-thirds of minors at risk of poverty were living in households whose main source of income were benefits, usually income support. Compared to 2014, there were more children in families at risk and dependent on benefits (60 per cent), while there were fewer children in families at risk with predominantly income from employment: 34 per cent versus 40 per cent in 2014.

Most families at risk with work as the primary income source have a salary income. Nearly 55 thousand minors live in poverty-risk families with a salary income. This is one-fifth of all underage poverty-risk children. Nearly 35,000 children live in poverty-risk families with self-employment as the main income source.

‘Relatively many children living in poverty in Rotterdam’

In 2018, Rotterdam had the highest share of children living in low-income households: 17.5 per cent. This is more than twice the Dutch average. Heerlen, Amsterdam, The Hague and Delfzijl complete the top five of municipalities with the highest share of children at risk of poverty. Rozendaal had the lowest share of children living in families below the poverty line, namely 2.1 percent. In Bunnik and Heilo, too, the share amounted to less than three per cent.

Author: Simon Weedy

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