We’re Getting Poorer

Subsistence Level from 2019

The CBS pinpoint Subsistence Level for a single adult at Awg 2,281 a month, and for a family, 2 adults and 2 kids, at Awg 4,790, in June 2019. Which means that according to average that is the minimum income required.

Leo writes: “The subsistence level is the minimum level of income which is perceived necessary to achieve an adequate standard of living in a given country. The subsistence level is usually determined by estimating the cost of all the essential resources that an average adult consumes in one month or year, and it varies according to the price of food, clothing, housing, transport and other items in the “basket”.

HOWEVER, if you are an adult, living alone at a subsistence level, in June 2019, you need Awg 2,281 to make ends meet. The minimum salary is Awg 1,762, which means you have a deficit of Awg 519 every month, and unless the kids help you, you’re in the poor house.

Subsistence Level 2022

Dr. Martijn Balkestein visited the AHATA general meeting, invited as a guest speaker by the organization, to outline data regarding minimum subsistence level, in an effort to explain that minimum wages, are presently below the minimum subsistence level, and if a person earn minimum wages it doesn’t guarantee dignified living.

CBS has been collecting data regarding that since 1994.

The definition of minimal subsistence level was expanded since I last checked: “Social subsistence minimum refers to a minimum amount necessary to function within society in a socially and ethically acceptable manner.”

Subsistence level

1994 = Awg 2,201

2010 = Awg 4,169

2022 = Awg 5,046 for two adults & two children

Awg 6,247 for three adults and 2 children

2023 – Awg 5,519 ?

In 2022, most of the family budget goes on food and housing, 70%.

(Which means roof over head and some food on the table.)

In 1994, food & housing represented 60%.

More that half  household in the survey did not save at all, 11.3% saved only informally – under the matrass?

The majority households, 72.8%, had Awg 5,000 or less saved at the bank or informally.

1.5% has stocks or bonds and enjoyed a relatively high income, Awg 8,525

27% spent more than they earned. (Like the country)

50% of those overspending, exceeded their monthly income by more than Awg 500. (Which means they were deep in debt)

73% of households earned Awg 4,500 per month or less. (Note, below minimum subsistence level)

16% of households had a monthly income of Awg 2,000 or less.

Income inequality in Aruba is high. 20% or households earned 45% of total income

Our middle class and lower middle class are under pressure, really under the threat of extinction, beware of more social challenges as a result of this erosion.






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July 19, 2022
Rona Coster