The number of people claiming basic welfare benefits (bijstand) fell by 5% or 24,000 last year, according to new figures from the national statistics agency CBS.
2018 was also the first time in 10 years that there was a drop in the number of people with a non-western background claiming welfare benefits, the CBS said. This was largely because many Syrian nationals found work and far fewer refugees from Syria are arriving in the Netherlands.
In total, the number of Syrian nationals on welfare fell by almost 9%, as did the number of people aged 27 to 45. But the drop in claims by the over 45s was just 1%, the CBS said.
At the end of 2018, 433,000 people of working age were claiming welfare benefits, but the total has been falling for three years.
A further 54,000 pensioners were also claiming partial welfare benefits because they had not worked the requisite 50 years to claim a full state pension. Of them, 38,500 had a non-western background.
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