There was an 18,000 rise in the number of welfare benefit claims last year, taking the total to 467,000, the national statistics office CBS said on Tuesday.
2016 was the eighth year in a row that there was an increase in the number of welfare (bijstand) claims.
The 4% increase is entirely due to claims by people with a non-western background, mainly refugees, the CBS said. Refugees are entitled to welfare benefits once they have been given a residency permit.
In total, 268,000 with a non-western background were claiming welfare benefits at the end of last year. Their number includes 35,000 pensioners who are not entitled to a full AOW pension because they have not been in the Netherlands for the required 50 years.
The number of claims by people with a Dutch or other western country background actually fell slightly, the CBS said.
On average, 41 people in every 1,000 are claiming welfare. Of the big cities, Rotterdam has the highest number of claimants at 96 per 1,000, followed by Leeuwarden, The Hague, Arnhem and Enschede.
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