For the first time in history, Statistics Netherlands has surveyed incomes in the Caribbean Netherlands. In 2011, the average disposable household income in Bonaire was over US $19,000 dollars, in Saba nearly US $21,000 and in St. Eustatius US $24,000. This reports The Daily Herald.
The income differences on the islands are consistent with the differences in the gross domestic product for the Caribbean Netherlands. Statistics Netherlands announced yesterday in a report that the incomes of the quarter of households in the lowest income bracket in Bonaire, Saba and Statia was approximately US $6,000. Incomes on Bonaire and Saba ranged from US $6,000 in the lowest income bracket to around US $53,000 in the highest income bracket. The gap was wider in Statia, where incomes varied between US $6,000 and over US $68,000.
Most households had income from labour, business activities or personal capital (known as “primary income”). Bonaire had the highest share of households (88 per cent) with income from labour, business activities or personal capital, versus 84 per cent in Statia and Saba. The incomes of households relying on benefits generally varied between US $6,000 and US $7,000. In this respect, there were no differences between the three islands. Households with primary incomes ranged from US $22,000 on Bonaire to US $24,000 on Saba and US $29,000 on Statia.
In multi-person households, there is usually more than one income earner. As a result, incomes of multi-person households are ordinarily 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 per cent respectively, the distribution of single versus multi-person households was almost identical on all three islands.
A person’s income level is related to their age, the report showed. 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 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 Statia, the average income of this type of household was US $30,000; in Saba, it was US $23,000 and in Bonaire, US $22,000. With an average income of US $21,000, the wealthiest people under the age of 40 were also found in Statia. Incomes of people over the age of 60, on the other hand, were significantly lower in Statia at US $11,000, than in Bonaire and Saba at approximately US $18,000.