What Worries the Dutch Population? Q3 vs. Q4 Survey Results

Lifepanel continues to measure and understand public opinion as part of its tracker, this time among the Dutch population. This survey, which is conducted every quarter, provides valuable insights into the diverse perspectives and attitudes of the population.

The Dutch economy experienced low growth in 2023, expanding by only 0.1% compared to 2022, when growth was extra strong thanks to the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The main causes of the economy’s cooling are the downturn in global trade and the European Central Bank’s monetary policy, which is needed to fight high inflation. It is worth mentioning that unemployment in the Netherlands remains low at 3.6% in 2023, but is expected to rise to 4% in 20241.

Hugo Erken, head of the Netherlands economics department within the Rabobank, stated that the government expects the Dutch economy to grow by 0.4% and 0.8% in 2023 and 2024, respectively2. Besides these predictions, it is worth mentioning that the long-term growth potential of the Dutch economy is under pressure as total employment in hours worked is unlikely to increase much further, mainly due to the ageing population. Growth will therefore depend on productivity gains, with the government playing an important stimulating and facilitating role.

In this article, we share the findings from our probability-based panel in the Netherlands, comparing survey results obtained through our quarterly tracker in Q3 and Q4 2023. Three questions on the economy were posed to our panellists, providing us with an understanding of the public’s economic concerns.

The respondents who were invited to participate were chosen randomly without any stratification or propensity scores. All the data has been weighted for age, gender, education, employment status and region.

Thoughts on the Dutch population’s opinion regarding their country’s economic situation

Concerns about the economic situation in the Netherlands have been on the rise in recent years. Inflation rates have seen a significant increase, and the cost of living has escalated, putting pressure on households across the country.

The data clearly shows that a majority of the respondents believe the economic situation in the Netherlands will get worse. Compared to last quarter, a slightly larger portion of respondents now believe the economy will improve, but this group remains considerably smaller than those who expect the economic situation to worsen or remain stagnant. The figures were 37.6% for Q3 and 34.6% for Q4. This small but good change shows how important it is to stay alert and take steps to deal with the country’s economic problems.

Thoughts on whether the government should send military support to Ukraine

To understand public opinion on sending military aid to Ukraine, we compared survey responses from two different quarters. This analysis reveals how opinions and perspectives have shifted over time.

The majority of participants are neutral, neither agreeing nor disagreeing, although there was a slight decline in this sentiment in Q4, dropping from 27.2% to 24.8%. The portion of respondents expressing disapproval of sending military help has risen from 14.4% to 18.8% in Q4, compared to Q3. Support for sending military aid to Ukraine has also grown between quarters three and four.

Thoughts on inflation confidence

Just like the previous question, when asked about inflation, most respondents believe inflation will remain the same in both quarters. A higher difference is noted between the answers from one to another quarter for the respondents who think that the inflation will be lower in the next period, from 27.6% to 22.9%. A small minority of panelists predict higher inflation, with a slight increase in this view, from 2.7% to 6.8%.

The results show that the majority of the respondents agree on what they think will happen with inflation, and they expect it to stay about the same in the next few months. Most do not think inflation will increase or decrease significantly. But more panelists are starting to think inflation might go down, which could mean they are a little optimistic that things might get better. At the same time, a growing number of respondents now think inflation could go up, which shows they are worried about things that might make prices rise.

Comparison of the Q4 responses by gender

From the chart below, we can see that when it comes to the perception of the economic situation in the Netherlands, there is a notable difference between men and women. For the last quarter in 2023, 60.6% of men tend to believe that the situation would improve, compared to 39.3% for women. This suggests that men are more optimistic regarding this question.

The number of women who think that the inflation will get higher in the next period is lower compared to men, 39.4% vs. 60.6%. In addition to this, women think that the inflation will be much lower in the next period compared to men. The data suggests a growing concern about inflation among the male population.

Thoughts on inflation confidence

The last chart reveals a big difference in answers between the two genders, to this question for Q4. It is worth mentioning that the percentage of men who totally agree for their country to send military support to Ukraine is 62.9% compared to women 37.1%. This indicates a growing gender gap in attitudes toward military intervention. While men seem more inclined to support the use of military force, women appear to be more cautious or opposed to it. This divergence could be influenced by various factors such as cultural norms, personal values, or differing perceptions of the potential risks and benefits associated with military action.

Military support

Further analysis is required to understand the underlying reasons for these differences and how they might impact policy decisions. It would also be interesting for the next quarter to share data on whether this pattern holds true across different age groups, educational backgrounds, and other demographics.

Conclusion on the survey

The survey conducted among the Dutch population provides insights into public opinion on both economic and political issues. While the results indicate a general sense of concern regarding the future of the economy, there is a slight increase in those expressing optimism for improvement. Regarding military aid for Ukraine, public opinion is mixed. While there’s a trend towards disapproval, there’s also been a recent rise in support. Inflation expectations are mostly stable, with cautious optimism that inflation rates may decrease.

When analyzing the responses by gender, it is clear that there are differences in opinion between men and women. Men are more optimistic about the economic situation improving and more supportive of military intervention in Ukraine, compared to women. On the other hand, women seem less concerned about rising inflation than men.

These findings highlight the importance of considering gender perspectives in policy-making and suggest that further research could provide deeper insights into how these opinions are formed and how they might influence individual behavior and societal trends. Overall, these surveys play a vital role in measuring public opinion and improving the quality of life. By understanding the perspectives and attitudes of the population, policymakers can make informed decisions that address the concerns and needs of the people.

  1. Unemployment in the Netherlands remains low at 3.6% in 2023 – DNB.NL ↩︎
  2. The government expects the Dutch economy to grow by 0.4% and 0.8% in 2023 and 2024 – Hugo Erken. ↩︎
Stole Smilkov
Stole Smilkov
Stole Smilkov is the Business Development Manager of Sample Solutions BV, and leading the further growth of Lifepanel from a research but also commercial perspective.