A translation of De sociale staat van Nederland 2009
How is the Dutch population faring? That is the central question addressed in The Social State of the Netherlands 2009. In this book we describe the present status of the Netherlands and the Dutch in a number of key areas of life, and also highlight the changes that have taken place in people's life situation over the last ten years. Have people's incomes improved? Are there more or fewer people in work? And which groups in the population have made the greatest progress or fallen back furthest? Are the educational achievements of young people improving or deteriorating? What about our (unhealthy) habits and lifestyles? How do the Dutch use their time? People's own subjective experiences are also explored. How do Dutch citizens view the future: Do we have confidence in it or are we deeply worried? Is social cohesion in the Netherlands fragmenting? Are some groups in danger of becoming marginalised? Do those in need of help receive proper support? And what about voluntary work and club and society life?
By describing all these diverse themes in their mutual relationship, we arrive at an overall picture of the life situation of the Dutch. Naturally, we also devote attention to separate groups - after all, people's capacities, opportunities and preferences for the way they structure their lives differ and are related, causally or otherwise, to their age, sex, whether or not they are disabled, their ethnic origin and their financial position. The impact of the financial crisis which began in 2008 is also described for those themes for which data were available. And because Europe is coming ever closer and a great deal of government policy is today actually European policy, we indicate in several places how the Dutch compare with their European neighbours.
The Social State of the Netherlands (SSN) is part of a long and international research tradition in which an attempt is made using social indicators to monitor the living conditions and quality of life of citizens over time, and to identify trends in these areas. The availability and comprehensiveness of data are improving, and this is creating better opportunities for charting social trends within the population as a whole.
The Social State of the Netherlands has been published every two years since 2001; this is the fifth edition.