Summary - Social State of the Netherlands

The central theme addressed in the ‘Social State of the Netherlands’ (SSN) report series is the quality of life of the Dutch. Since 2001 the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) has used this report to monitor how the Dutch population is faring and what developments have taken place over time. The report covers people’s objective life situation, but also describes the subjective situation, i.e. how the Dutch themselves feel things are going. How satisfied are the Dutch with different aspects of their lives, and what are their views on society and politics? This tenth edition devotes extra attention to the correlation and discrepancy between objective and subjective quality of life. Where the data allowed this, the study looked at how closely a person’s objective life situation corresponds with their own perception of their life. Which groups are doing well – or badly – in objective terms, and does this match the way they feel about their lives? And for which groups (or in which domains) does the people's objective life situation differ from the way they see and rate their lives?

Original title: De sociale staat van Nederland 2019

The SSN maps developments over a ten-year period in several areas of life and society: public opinion, education, employment, income, health, leisure time use, social participation, social safety and housing. By exploring the relationship between trends in these diverse themes and placing them in the context of general economic, demographic and ecological developments, a picture emerges of the quality of life of the Dutch population. For some indicators, the situation in the Netherlands is compared with that in other European countries.

The description of developments in quality of life focuses on different groups in society, reflecting the fact that people’s capabilities, opportunities and preferences in how they structure their lives differ and are related among other things to their age, sex and origin. The resources to which people have access (education, income, employment, health) are also important. We devote rather more attention to vulnerable groups, who may be sharing to a lesser extent than others in the positive developments in the Netherlands. This information about socially determined differences in quality of life makes it possible to highlight social problems and disadvantage in order to inform politicians and policymakers.