Fewer welfare children for the first time since 2009

Young people and families | 03-12-2018 09:12

At the end of 2017, nearly 7 percent (228 thousand) of all minor children were living in a family claiming income support, down by nearly 3 thousand on 2016. It was the first drop in the number of children from such families since 2009. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of the Annual Report Youth Monitor 2018.

In the period between 2009 and 2016, the number of children living in families on income support was still up by more than 45 thousand. The decrease in 2017 was seen across all migrant groups, except for the group with a Syrian background; in this group, the number of children increased by more than 8 thousand to nearly 28 thousand. In the same year, over 12 percent of welfare children had a Syrian background. Overall, 63 percent of children in welfare families had a non-western background, versus 30 percent with a native Dutch background.

Single mothers in charge in most families on income support

In 2016, 8 out of 10 native Dutch families on income support were single-parent families with a woman as the main breadwinner. This share was slightly higher among families with a Surinamese or Antillean background. Other non-western families are relatively more often two-parent families with a male main breadwinner (40 percent).

Greater majority of welfare children live in rented housing

The living situation of families on income support with minor children is different from other families with children. In 2015, almost 95 percent of welfare families with minor children were living in rented homes, of whom over 50 percent in apartments. More than 40 percent did not have their own garden. These percentage shares were considerably lower among other families with children.

6 in 10 welfare families struggle to make ends meet

In 2016, families on income support with children had an average annual income of 22 thousand euros. At almost 55 thousand euros, other families with children had nearly twice that amount to spend. Close to 60 percent of families on income support with children indicated that they found it difficult to make ends meet. According to them, they are subject to more financial constraints than families who are not receiving benefits.

For example, families on support less often indicate that they have the financial means to replace worn furniture and less than 20 percent say they can afford a holiday of at least one week per year. Less than 40 percent have the means to purchase new clothing or participate in outdoor activities which cost money on a regular basis.