More than one in five people on Saba have difficulty making ends meet

In 2021, approximately 20 percent of the population aged 15 years or older on Bonaire and Saba said they had difficulties making ends meet with their income. The figure was higher on St Eustatius, namely over 30 percent. In 2017, the situation on Saba was different: 36 percent of the population said they had difficulties making ends meet. This is evident from figures taken from The Caribbean Netherlands in numbers 2023, published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

In 2021, around 15 percent of the population on the three islands said that monthly housing costs were a major financial burden to them. This percentage was higher in 2017 on Saba and Bonaire, but not on St Eustatius.

Differences based on education level
The difficulties people experience are linked to their level of education. On St Eustatius, people with a low education level were almost twice as likely to experience difficulties as highly educated people; 40 and 20 percent, respectively.

On Bonaire, this was almost three times as much (29 percent) compared to those with medium or high-level education (10 percent). On Saba, there was no difference between the lower and higher educated.

Not enough money for specific expenses

Around 70 percent of the population on all three islands said they did not have enough money for one or more specific expenses. This varied from paying for a hot meal including meat, chicken or fish every other day (lowest on Bonaire, namely 10 percent) to paying for unexpected necessary expenses (highest on St Eustatius at 60 percent). On all three islands, half of the population did not have enough money to replace worn-out furniture while approximately 45 percent were unable to afford a one-week holiday every year.

The percentage of people saying they did not have enough money to buy new clothes on a regular basis varied greatly per island: from 15 percent on Saba to 45 percent on Bonaire. Also different per island was the share of people who did not have enough money to invite family or friends to dinner at least once a month. This was over 25 percent on Saba and over 35 percent on St Eustatius.


Concerns about the financial future

On St Eustatius, financial future is of great concern to nearly 60 percent of the population. This was around 45 percent on Bonaire and Saba, where people with low and medium education levels in particular were very concerned. On Bonaire, people between 15 and 45 years of age were more concerned about their financial future (50 percent) than people aged 45 and over. Particularly on Saba, women (51 percent) were more concerned about this than men (38 percent).


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