More purchasing power for low-income groups on Statia

Photo: RCN

Bonaire – The Caribbean Netherlands once again recorded a rise in consumer purchasing power in 2017. With a median 2.6 percent increase, the highest gain was on St Eustatius. Mainly low-income households benefited there, due to the additional increase in minimum wages and social benefits in 2017. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on newly released figures.

Purchasing power in the Caribbean Netherlands has risen year after year since 2012. Improved purchasing power means that incomes are rising more than the average price levels, meaning consumers can afford to purchase more goods and services. A median increase of 2.6 percent for St Eustatius means that half of the population see their spending power rise by at least 2.6 percent and the other half by less than 2.6 percent. Purchasing power fell for 45 percent of Statia’s inhabitants. On Bonaire and Saba, the (median) change in purchasing power amounted to 1.0 and 0.6 percent respectively in 2017, the lowest increase on these islands since 2012.

Highest purchasing power gain among low-income group on St Eustatius is by far the sharpest median increase in purchasing power and was recorded in the lowest income quartile (25th percentile) at 6.1 percent. Benefit recipients gained 6.3 percent. On Bonaire, purchasing power improved mainly among households in the highest income quartile (by 2.2 percent). Contrary to St Eustatius, it was predominantly the working population on Bonaire who benefited from the improvement with a rise in purchasing power of 1.6 percent.

All households benefited on St Eustatius, purchasing power developments had a positive effect across all household groups. Single households gained the most with a median rise of 5.4 percent. Purchasing power rose by more than 2 percent among single-parent families, couples with children and other multi-person households. On Bonaire, mainly households with children benefited: couples with children by 3.2 percent and single-parent families by 2.3 percent. Members of multi-person households on Bonaire and Saba, on the other hand, lost some of their purchasing power.

Young and old alike have more to spend on Saba and St Eustatius, purchasing power improved across all age groups. With a median increase of 4.8 percent, the most significant improvement for young households (under age 40) was seen on St Eustatius. This was also the age group with the greatest improvement in spending power on Bonaire, namely 2.3 percent. On St Eustatius and Saba, residents over age 60 saw their spending power improve, partly due to additional increases in statutory pension benefits (AOV). This age group benefited by 4.6 percent on Statia and 1.1 percent on Saba. On Bonaire, the increase in AOV benefit was lower than the increase in consumer prices; the spending power of local elderly residents declined slightly as a result.

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