Disparities in the Netherlands – Are They Growing?

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Hörsaal 12 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Jeroen BOELHOUWER, The Netherlands Institute for Social Research, Netherlands
Compared to other countries, quality of life in the Netherlands is at a high level. This is combined with low levels of inequality: for example income inequality (gini coefficient) and happiness inequality (standard deviation) are low and rather stable over time.

Looking more in depth to income inequality (income deciles, top 1% income) reveals a less stable picture and even growing inequality between some groups.

We also look more in depth to a broad concept of quality of life, as measured by the SCP life situation index, which combines indicators on housing, leisure time, health, mobility, participation and social networks. There are also huge differences in life situation between groups in society, though varying though time.

In the presentation we shall focus on the effect of the recent economic crisis. In general, the crisis did have an effect on the disparities and inequalities, but it was a limited effect both in duration and in depth. But are vulnerable groups, with less resources (like income, education and health), hit harder by the crisis than groups which are well-off? What about the middle class? Did the crisis have the same impact on income-related domains as on social domains? Are people actually less happy?

In the presentation we will show results on these matters, using the social report Social state of the Netherlands (to be published December 2015), looking back 10 years and show that the impact of the crisis in the Netherlands is less severe as some feared for.