Fresh produce on display on arrival at a Saba supermarket.
SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS–The median purchasing power of the population in the Caribbean Netherlands increased once again in 2016. The population of Saba enjoyed the largest increase with 4.8 per cent. In Bonaire and St Eustatius, the increase was 1.9 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively. On all three islands, the purchasing power of families with young children increased the most, due to the introduction of child benefit in 2016, Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS) reported, based on new figures.
Ever since the first measurement in 2012, purchasing power in the three islands has increased year by year. When purchasing power increases, income growth exceeds the average price level and more goods and services can be purchased.
Saba showed the strongest increase in purchasing power each year, except in 2015. In 2016, the increase was 4.8 per cent, the largest increase ever.
It concerns the median purchasing power development. For one half of the population the purchasing power went up by 4.8 per cent or more, whereas for the other half the purchasing power grew less.
In 2016, purchasing power fell for 34 per cent of Saba’s citizens. In Bonaire and Statia, purchasing power peaked in 2015 with 4.6 per cent.
Partly because of the introduction of child benefit in 2016, purchasing power particularly improved for families with young children. For single-parent families with only minors, the purchasing power increased the most: in Statia by eight per cent, in Bonaire by 6.9 per cent and in Saba by 13.1 per cent.
Single persons and couples without children in Bonaire experienced an average decrease in purchasing power of 0.3 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively.
In Statia and Saba, purchasing power increased for all age groups. Especially members of 60-plus households experienced an increase in purchasing power as a result of measures taken in 2016.
For instance, General Law on Old Age Pension AOV benefits as well as the AOV allowance were raised extra. In addition, as from 2016 persons who do not receive a full AOV benefit can receive supplementary AOV from social relief.
In Statia, the group of people 60 and over enjoyed an increase in AOV income of 6.9 per cent and in Saba the increase was 5.1 per cent.
In Bonaire, the AOV benefits remained unchanged and prices increased, as a result of which this group suffered a decrease in purchasing power of 0.5 per cent.
The purchasing power of people in employment increased on all three islands in 2016. Saba showed the largest increase with 3.7 per cent. Bonaire and Statia followed with 2.3 and 1.6 per cent respectively.
In Statia and Saba, the purchasing power of benefit recipients increased as well. Like the AOV benefits, Widow and Orphans Act General Insurance BES AWW and social relief benefits were increased, boosting purchasing power.
In Statia, the purchasing power of benefit recipients increased by 8.9 per cent and on Saba with 7.4 per cent.
The benefits were not raised on Bonaire, which is partly reason why purchasing power fell by 0.5 per cent there.
Purchasing power increased for all income groups in 2016. In Statia, the purchasing power of the lowest income groups went up by eight per cent and on Saba with 6.6 per cent. For Bonaire’s residents, the increase was considerably lower with 2.2 percent.
Households in the highest income bracket experienced an increase in purchasing power in Saba in particular. Half of this group saw an increase of 3.3 per cent or more, whereas 29 per cent suffered a decrease in purchasing power.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/78675-more-purchasing-power-for-families-with-young-children