With 26.3 thousand US dollars per household, the highest disposable income in the Caribbean Netherlands in 2013 was recorded on Statia. Compared to 2012, the median disposable income on Bonaire rose marginally in 2013, but households on St Eustatius and Saba saw their incomes decline. Incomes fell most dramatically on St Eustatius. Annually, households on Bonaire had 22.9 thousand dollars to spend and the median income on Saba was 23.4 thousand dollars as data provided by Statistics. CBS has surveyed the median disposable income in the Caribbean Netherlands for 2013.
Largest income inequality on Statia
Income inequality is most obvious on Statia. If the 25 percent of highest household incomes are added up, the sum is more than 11 times as high as the sum of the 25 percent of lowest incomes, versus just over 9.5 times on Bonaire and more than 8 times on Saba, where income differences are less distinct.
40 to 60-year-olds on Statia have highest incomes
On each of the three islands, the main breadwinner in the highest income households is aged somewhere between 40 and 60. People in this age category have more work experience than their younger colleagues and usually occupy better jobs and earn higher wages. With 32 thousand dollars, people in this category living on Statia have the highest median income. On Bonaire and Saba, the median incomes in this category were 26.9 thousand and 27 thousand dollars respectively.
Highest incomes over-60s on Bonaire and Saba
If the household’s main breadwinner reaches retirement age, their incomes are usually reduced and they need to rely on old age and supplementary pension schemes. The fall in income is most substantial on Statia. With 17.1 thousand dollars, the median income level is evidently lower than on Bonaire and Saba, where over-60s can rely on 21.7 thousand and 20.9 thousand dollars respectively.
Data referring to 2013 are provisional, because the source data are incomplete. Missing data are adjusted on the basis information from 2012. Next year, the status of the figures will shift from provisional to permanent.
Median income provides better indication when income distribution is skewed
The three special municipalities of the Netherlands in the Caribbean Sea suffer from a skewed income distribution. Many incomes cluster at a relatively low level and high incomes are fairly rare. Yet, these high incomes have a disproportionally upward effect on the average amount. As a result, the average amount is higher than the amounts belonging to the most commonly found relatively low incomes. The general picture is distorted. In order to provide more reliable data, i.e. more consistent with the bulk of relatively low incomes, CBS has opted for the median of the income distribution. If all incomes are arranged in ascending order, the median disposable income is the amount which divides the income distribution into two equal groups, half having incomes above that amount and half having incomes below that amount. This means that precisely half of the population have a lower or equal income and half have a higher income. The median income is lower than the average income.
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 all months in 2013 is = 0.75 euros).
Inflation in the Caribbean Netherlands is measured as the increase of the consumer price index (CPI) on the same period of the previous year. The consumer price index shows the price changes in a package of goods and services purchased on average by households in the Caribbean Netherlands. Inflation leads to devaluation, which means that people can buy less for the same amount of money.
Press release RCN