Even though the gap between rich and poor households has barely changed since 2001, the Netherlands ranks among the top five countries in Europe with lowest income inequality.
Income differences in the Netherlands remained stable in 2011 relative to the preceding year according to figures released by Statistics Netherlands.
Income inequality only increased marginally in 2007. Higher incomes, in particular self-employed, benefited more from the economic recovery than other income categories, but between 2008 and 2009 entrepreneurs were also the first to bear the brunt of the economic crisis. As a result, income inequality reverted to a lower level. Income differences among self-employed are much larger than among employees and benefit recipients and also tend to change more over time.
Income inequality in the Netherlands relatively low
Income differences also grew in Germany in 2007, but subsequently the higher level was sustained and currently income differences in Germany is are larger than in the Netherlands. In Sweden, the country with the lowest income inequality score in the EU after Slovenia, and with approximately the same standard of living as the Netherlands, the income gap between rich and poor households has not changed in recent years.
The Netherlands is in the top 5 of countries in Europe with the lowest income inequality level, but only just. The other four countries are Slovenia, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Finland. The largest income disparities in Europe are found in Latvia, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Romania.