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Most Dutch believe society is heading in the wrong direction

Most Dutch believe society is heading in the wrong direction

The numbers rose up by 19 % in just 3 years

Most of the population of the Netherlands is pessimistic about the future of society. This stems from a survey, published yesterday by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the national statistics office.

The survey encompassed the population above 15 years old, 57% of whom apparently believe that things in the country were heading in the wrong direction: a stark increase compared to the last time a similar poll was conducted.

Even young people are getting more pessimistic about the future

Pessimistic views with regard to the future of society in The Netherlands have risen from 38% in 2018 to 57% last year. And this, even before the war in Ukraine has shaken mindsets, as the results were measured in 2021.

Pessimism in The Netherlands

Pessimism growth in Dutch society. Source: CBS

The survey asked participants simply “How do you think things are generally going in the Netherlands” and received a 57,4% responses that things are heading in the wrong direction (compared to 38% in 2018).

Moreover, 44 percent agreed which an alternative, but still worrysome formulation, that “For most people, life is getting worse rather than better’. That number was 35 percent in 2018. Finally, as many as 39% of the surveyed disagreed with the statement “The future looks hopeful as things stand now” while this number was just 26 percent in 2018.

Overall, compared to 2018 pessimism has become more widespread in the entire society. However, elderly people were generally more pessimistic than the youth, which is perhaps expected, as maturity also increases with age. The results show that 36 percent of 15 to 24-year-olds find that life was getting worse rather than better. Among those over 75 years old, this number hikes to 53 percent. Furthermore, 50 percent of those in the youngest age group said things in the Netherlands were heading in the wrong direction, compared with 62% among the oldest.

Pessimism grows with age

Pessimism grows with age. Source: CBS

Apart from age, another predictor for pessimism appears to be education, growing more than everywhere else among those with the highest educational levels. In particular, only 32% of people with higher education in 2018 agreed that things were going in the wrong direction, while in 2021 this number rose to 56%. Albeit present among the population with the lowest education levels, the increase in pessimism was less visible there.

The survey does not give an explanation as to what the causes of these results are, but it is safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic which took place exactly between 2018 and 2021 has taken its toll on people’s optimistic attitudes. It is important to point out that although they have been published today, the responses could not have been influenced by the effects of the war in Ukraine as they were given before this.



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