For the first time, Statistics Netherlands has surveyed incomes in the Caribbean Netherlands. In 2011, the average disposable household income on Bonaire was more than 19 thousand dollars, on Saba nearly 21 thousand dollars and on St Eustatius 24 thousand dollars. The income differences on the islands are consistent with the differences in the gross domestic product for the Caribbean Netherlands. Statistics Netherlands announced today that the incomes of the quarter of households in the lowest income bracket on Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius was approximately 6 thousand dollars.
Largest income differences recorded on St Eustatius
Incomes on Bonaire and Saba ranged from 6 thousand dollars in the lowest income bracket to about 53 thousand dollars in the highest income bracket. The gap was wider on St Eustatius where incomes varied between 6 thousand dollars and more than 68 thousand dollars.
Bonaire has largest share of households with primary incomes
Most households had income from labour, business activities or personal capital. Bonaire had the highest share of households (88 percent) with income from labour, business activities or personal capital, versus 84 percent on St Eustatius and Saba. The incomes of households relying on benefits generally varied between 6 thousand and 7 thousand dollars. In this respect, there were no differences between the three islands. Households with primary incomes ranged from 22 thousand dollars on Bonaire to 24 thousand dollars on Saba and 29 thousand dollars on St Eustatius.
Incomes multi-person households more than twice as high as incomes single-person households on all three islands
In multi-person households, there is usually more than one income earner. As a result, incomes of multi-person households are usually higher than the incomes of single-person households. On the three Caribbean islands, incomes of multi-person households are more than twice as high as incomes of single-person households. With 46 and 54 percent respectively, the distribution of single versus multi-person households was almost identical on all three islands.
40 to 59-year-olds on St Eustatius have highest incomes
A person’s income level is related to their age. Incomes of young people at the start of their professional career earn relatively low wages. When they grow older, their position on the labour market improves as they accumulate work experience and gain access to better-paying jobs. When they reach retirement age at 60, their incomes again fall back to a lower level.
This pattern is also noticeable in the Caribbean Netherlands. On all three islands, households with a main breadwinner in the age category 40-59 accounted for the highest incomes. On St Eustatius, the average income of this type of households was 30 thousand dollars, on Saba 23 thousand dollars and on Bonaire 22 thousand dollars. With an average income of 21 thousand dollars, the wealthiest people under the age of 40 were also found on St Eustatius. Incomes of over-60s, on the other hand, were significantly lower on St Eustatius (11 thousand dollars) than on Bonaire and Saba (approximately 18 thousand dollars).
Disposable income is defined as income from labour, running one’s own business, personal capital, benefits and received transfers minus paid income transfers, contributions paid by employers, health care contributions and tax on income and personal capital. (The exchange rate over the month of December 2011 averaged 1 USD = 0.76 euros).
Average or median income is the amount that divides the income distribution into two equal groups, half having incomes above that amount and half having incomes below that amount.
Primary income is defined as income generated from labour, income from running one’s own business and income from personal capital. Because it is not possible in the Caribbean Netherlands to distinguish between collective supplementary pension and wage, it is included in income from labour.