637,000 people in the Netherlands lived below the poverty line last year, which is equivalent to 3.8 percent of the population. Although this number represents a large number of people, it is still the lowest level since CBS began measuring it in 1977.
The fact that the number is relatively small is due to income support from the government. This concerns, for example, an energy surcharge of €1,300 for people with low incomes and a discount of €380 on the energy bill at the end of the year.
Without these measures, 5.9 percent of the population would have lived in poverty last year. This amounts to nearly a million people.
Statistics Netherlands does not talk about poverty, but rather about the “risk of poverty”. People are exposed to this risk if they belong to a family whose income is below the poverty line. Last year, the maximum individual income was €1,200 per month. For couples without children the amount was 1,690 euros.
The limit was slightly higher for families with children. A single parent with two minor children lives below the poverty line with an income of less than €1,830 net per month. For a couple with two small children this is 2,300 euros.
Last year, 5.2% of children lived in poverty. This percentage was also historically low, although it still stands at 165,000 children.
Income is low in four major cities
There is a lot of poverty in the big four cities, among others. More than 24% of poor families live there, while only 13% of the total Dutch population live in a large city. There is a relatively high level of poverty, especially in Rotterdam and The Hague.
Other negative outliers are the provinces of Limburg and Groningen and the cities of Schiedam, Enschede and Nijmegen. The risk of poverty is lowest in Roosendaal, Gelderland.
Origin plays a major role in children
Poverty was still very high among unborn children in the Netherlands last year. Nearly one in five of them lives below the poverty line.
Children who were born in the Netherlands but have at least one parent who was not born in the Netherlands fare somewhat less poorly. However, 10.8% of them still live in poverty. If we look at children who were born here and also have parents born in the Netherlands, the ratio drops to 2.5.
Children who have fled themselves or whose parents are refugees are often not well off either. Poverty rates are high among the population of countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq. The problems are greater among Syrian children in our country: more than 45% of them live in poverty.
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