How is public wealth distributed when it comes to health? Health is a major determinant of quality of life. Illness (chronic) limits a person’s ability to participate effectively and fully in society. A healthy diet also has a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. The distribution is measured by perceived health.

Experienced health

People’s well-being is closely related to their health: ill health is often associated with poor well-being and can cause problems in areas such as work, social life, and housing. Here, an individual’s health assessment – perceived health – is used as an indicator of health. More information about the health of the Dutch population can be found on the website StatLine

Experienced health

Situation in 2021

How people feel about their health is a good indicator of overall health. Concretely, this relates to the percentage who rate their health as good or very good. In 2021, 80.5% of the population of the Netherlands considered their health to be good or very good.

Characteristics of gender, age, education level, and immigration background are related. For example, people with lower educational level are older on average than highly educated people. This is taken into account by the standardization of numbers: a correction is made for the inequality in the occurrence of the above characteristics. Based on the standardized numbers, the difference in perceived health between those with higher and less education is smaller. But also on the basis of standard numbers, the perceived health of those with low education remains relatively low and that of those with higher education relatively high. Other statistically significant differences between groups described above also persist after standardization.

Changes between 2019 and 2021

In 2021, the proportion of people describing their health as good or very good was 1.8 percentage points higher than in 2019. Compared to this development for the entire population, the following groups have developed abnormally:

  • The development was more unfavorable in people aged 15 to 35 years. In these groups, the percentage of (very) good health decreased. In people older than 75, perceived health developed relatively well, with an increase of ~8 percentage point
  • The perceived health of those with low skills developed relatively favorably, with an increase of 4.5 percentage points. The development was relatively unfavorable among those with higher education: a decrease of 1 percentage point.

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Megan Vasquez

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