Mostly working parents in the Caribbean Netherlands

Labour | 01-07-2019 13:07

In 2018, most of the children living at home in the Caribbean Netherlands had working parents. Of the nearly 5.2 thousand children up to the age of 25 living at home on Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, 92 percent have at least one working parent. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) as new figures are released in the Youth Monitor which are based on the Labour Force Survey Caribbean Netherlands 2018.

In both single-parent and two-parent families, the share of working parents is considerable. Of the 3.2 thousand children living in two-parent households,  70 percent have two working parents. The percentage of children with two working parents is highest (74 percent) on St Eustatius. On Bonaire this is 71 percent. The share of children with parents of whom only one is working, is smaller. One of both parents work among 24 percent of the children on Bonaire. On St. Eustatius this is 18 percent.


Of 3 percent of the children, neither parent is in work. On Saba there are relatively many children of whom both parents do not work (9 percent). This is well over twice as much as on St Eustatius and four times as much as on Bonaire.


The percentage of children with two working parents is slightly lower than in the European part of the Netherlands (76 percent versus 70 percent in the Caribbean Netherlands). 20 percent of the children in the European part of the Netherlands have one working parent and of 4 percent neither parent works. In the Caribbean Netherlands these percentages are 24 and 3, respectively. 


On Saba, the parents’ employment situation is largely unknown. This is due to the fact that in Labour Force Survey Caribbean Netherlands (AKO-CN), only the child responded and not the parents.  This may happen on occasion because it is not required for everyone in the household to respond. On Saba, this appears to be the case more often than on Bonaire and St Eustatius, without obvious reason.

9 out of 10 children in a one-parent family have a working parent

Of the 2 thousand children in one-parent families in the Caribbean Netherlands, 91 percent have a working parent. This single parent is not working in 9 percent of the cases. The shares are 13 percent on St Eustatiusand 5 percent on Saba. In one-parent families on Bonaire, 8 percent of the children have a nonworking parent.


In the European part of the Netherlands, 67 percent of the children in one-parent families have a working parent; this is 24 percentage points lower than in the Caribbean Netherlands. One-third of the single-parent children in the European Netherlands do not have a working parent. Of 12 percent of the children in single-parent households, the parent is unable or unwilling to work due to sickness and for 5 percent the reason is that they are providing care. In the Caribbean Netherlands, these shares are 2 percent and 1 percent respectively.

Parents often paying for childcare

Working parents personally look after their children when there is no school, but they also rely on paid and unpaid childcare. The 3 thousand parents with children up to the age of 12 mostly rely on nurseries, preschools or after-school care. At least half of these parents on Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba rely on such forms of paid care.


Other forms of childcare include childminders or unpaid care by relatives, friends or neighbours, for instance.