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Poverty and making ends meet

Poverty and health influence each other
Poverty and health influence each other in different ways. Some people are unable to work as much as needed due to health problems, so they are living on a low income or benefits. At the same time, financial problems such as debts or difficulties making ends meet can result in mental and physical health problems. This can cause stress, insomnia or depression.

What do we mean by poverty?
In the Utrecht Poverty Approach (Utrechtse armoedeaanpak), poverty is defined as having a low income. Poverty is broader than that and is also about not having enough disposable income to be able to participate properly in society. Or about not being able to provide your children with what they need. Having a low income is an objective measure and is used for that reason.

Our definition of a low income
We consider households with incomes up to 130% of the statutory minimum social income (WSM) as households with a low income. Within this group we look at household incomes up to 101% of the WSM, this corresponds with the welfare support level.

What is the statutory minimum social income?
The statutory minimum social income (WSM) is the amount that everyone needs to live on. This amount is determined by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. Depending on age and domestic situation (for example, whether someone is cohabiting), the WSM can be either lower or higher.

Poverty is often transferred from one generation to the next
Due to many factors, poverty is often transferred from one generation to the next. Parents transfer their way of dealing with money matters over to their children (even unconsciously). In addition, other norms and values sometimes apply in poorer districts or families: staying in school or working is not encouraged. That does not help to alleviate poverty.