Income & Spending Publications
This publication is based on Census Theme “Income”. The subjects in this theme are Personal Income,
Household Income, Income distribution, Poverty and Special Studies.
In 2011, average personal gross income amounted to 3.023 guilders. Median income was much lower: 1.836 guilders. This discrepancy signifies a skewed distribution of personal incomes in Curacao. In a period of forty years (Census years 1971-2011) real gross personal income grew with 29 percent.
Between 1992 and 2001 income growth was at its highest: on average 1, 4 percent on a yearly basis. There is a remarkable difference between the incomes of men and women. On average, the difference in 2011 is almost 50 percent. Notable is that the differences between the incomes raise as the age increases: from a 21 percent difference in the lowest age group to 72 percent in the age group 65 and older. The differences in incomes between men and women have diminished in the course of the Census years. Average income of women has grown at a much faster pace than income of men.
There is a clear relationship between (height) of income and educational level. Persons with a low level of education, primary education or less, earn on average a gross income of 1.700 guilders a month. Personal gross income rises to about 8.500 guilders a month for the highest educated (2nd level of tertiary
education). The relationship between gross income and economic status is also manifest. An unemployed person receives on average less than 1.400 guilders per month, whereas an employed person gets almost 3.600 guilders. Economic not-active persons make an income that is in between : almost 2.000 guilders.
A head of a household receives on average a gross income of 3.500 guilders per month. It makes much difference in income whether the head is a man (4.200) or a woman (2.600). Persons born in the Netherlands receive on average the highest personal income. The difference with the incomes of persons from another place of birth is considerable. Persons born in Curacao receive a little less than 3.000 guilders per month, somewhat less than the overall average personal income. Persons born in Surinam, Aruba and Venezuela receive on average a higher gross income, whereas persons born in other Caribbean countries, including Bonaire and St. Maarten, and Portugal (Madeira) receive on average a lower gross income. The more positive a person perceives its health, the higher its income is. Age plays here an important role. Seniors often have health issues and also often have lower incomes. Persons who perceive their health as good or very good are relatively often those who have an income from work or, to a lesser extent, from private pension, as their main source of income. Total gross personal income is on average highest for persons who generate their income from property (almost 7.700 guilders) . Employed persons receive on average a little more than 3.600 guilders and persons with a private pension a little less than this. The lowest income is received by persons having a state allowance (“onderstand” ).
Of the population 15 years and older with an income, around 22 percent also have a second income. A second income mostly occurs with persons having a private pension as main source of income (two third of them), and that second income is most often state pension (AOV). Those receiving AOV as main source of income have a second income in 21 percent of the cases, mainly from a private pension and sometimes from work. From the employed persons, 13 percent have a second income.
There is a clear relationship between occupation and income. Average gross income rises as the professional qualifications increase. The relationship between occupation and educational level is evident. Employers earn, as is to be expected, on average the highest incomes (almost 5.100 guilders). Selfemployed professionals make on average around 3.700 guilders, slightly more that employees in permanent service (3.650). An employee in permanent service earns on average 30 percent more that an employee in temporary service (2.600). Persons on a long-term contract have a higher income than those on a short-term contract, 2.900 and 2.100 guilders respectively. The average income of a person on a long-term contract is even higher than that of an employee in temporary service. Average gross monthly income is highest in industries “Financial and Insurance Activities”, ”Professional, Scientific and technical Activities” and “Public Administration and Defense”. Lowest average incomes are earned in “Activities of Households as Employers” and “Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing” About one third of the unemployed with an income, receive a state allowance. Most of these are women, receiving on average 740 guilders a month. Those unemployed receiving AOV as main source of income, have on average an income of just over 1.000 guilders. Incomes from other source are much higher. Highest gross incomes are received by persons having a pension or property income as main source of income (resp. 2.100 and 2.300 guilders), but these groups are small in size. Most persons who are economically not-active do not have an income. This is especially true for the youngest. Almost all 65-plusser indicate to receive an income, which is obvious since (almost ) all of them have a right to a state pension. Average income of economically not active persons is mainly determined by the source of their income. Average gross income is highest when receiving income from property (8.100 guilders), is average when receiving private pension with an additional AOV (3.200 guilders), and lowest when the main source of income is AOV, alimony, state allowance or scholarship (1.000 guilders or slightly more). Especially after age 35, the difference in income between not-active men and women is high. Main contributors to this divergence are differences in education and source of income. Higher educated notactive men earn considerably more than higher educated not-active women. Household Income In 2011, average gross household income was 5.331 guilders. Median income was much lower than that: 3.500 guilders. As was seen at the personal income level, there is also a skewed distribution of household income. Real household income grew between the Census years 1971 and 2011 with almost 23 percent. From 1982 the growth accelerated. This acceleration is barely visible in the development of real median income. That leads to the conclusion that growth in real income mainly occurred for the higher incomes. Modal household income class is at 1.001 – 2.000 guilders a month. About 17 percent of all households are in this income class. Another 13 percent receive less than 1.000 guilders a month. There is clearly an asymmetry in the household income distribution of Curacao. Compared to other countries this asymmetry is not uncommon. Average household income increases when the household size increases, but this increase stops after a household size of 4. Household income stabilizes after this point. The number of households at higher household sizes decreases rapidly: large households (8 persons or more) are less than 1 percent of total number of households. With one single income earner, average gross household income is around 3.300 guilders. A second earner almost doubles household income. Any additional person with an income raises average household income by a quite stable percentage (19-20%). Most households, 60 percent, are of type “one-nuclear household”, with an average gross monthly income of 6.100 guilders.When the head of the household is a man, average household income is around 6.400 guilders. Household
income of a household with a woman as head is much lower: almost 4.000 guilders. Discrepancies increase with the age of the head of the household.
Households with an employed head have on average a much higher household income (6.100 guilders) than households where the head has another economic status. Average income is lowest when the head of the household is unemployed ((2.600). A household with an economical not-active head generates on
average an gross income of 4.200 guilders. The educational level of the head of the household largely determines the level of household income. A household whose head has completed the highest level of education (tertiary education, second level and postdoctoral) has an average income which is approximately 3.5 times higher than when the head has the lowest educational level (primary education or less). Differences in gross household income are large when looking at the place of birth of the head: from approximately 2,600 guilders gross for a household whose head was born in St. Vincent & the Grenadines to more than 13,500 for a household headed by a person born in the United States of America. Households with a head born in Curaçao take a middle position in gross income: 5,200 guilders.
Household income is calculated as the sum of incomes of all income earners. Each income earner was asked to report on two main sources of income. Consequently, numerous combinations of sources of income are possible on the household level. At the household level, by far the most common combinations of sources of income are one or two income(s) from work, together 42 percent of all households. Relatively often one income from state
pension (AOV), one income from AOV and one from work, one income from AOV and one from private pension, three incomes from work, and two incomes from AOV occur. Looking at the combinations of income sources at the household level that renders the highest household income, the combination of four incomes from work are on top, with an average gross household income of more than 11,500 guilders per month. However, this concerns only a small number of households, less
than 1 percent of total. More often occurs the combination of three income from work, 3 percent, with an average household income of 9,300 guilders. Highest average gross household incomes can be found in the geographical zones of St. Willibrord, Mahaai and Spaanse Water, each averaging over 10,000 guilders per month. At a fair distance zones such as Groot Piscadera and Zeelandia follow with an average household income above 8,000 gross. Scharloo is he only zone where average household income is less than 3,000 guilders a month. Next zones with low incomes are Wishi, Kanga Dein, Tera Pretu, Otrabanda, Fortuna and Flip, all with a gross household income below 3,500 guilders
A household without children generates on average an income of around 4.900 guilders. Up to and including two children, household income rises, but with additional children in the household, gross income decreases somewhat. Households without 60-plussers have on average an income close to general average household income (5.600). Households with one single 60-plusser have a clearly lower income (4.300) on average. Main reason for this lower income is the fact that almost half of these households are single-person households where household income often is determined by one single AOV allowance. The more persons over 60 are present in the household, the higher the household income. This is logical because (almost) every 60- plusser is at least entitled to a state pension (AOV) and many of them have also built up a supplementary private pension.