October 17th is the international day to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty. Almost a million people in the Netherlands are currently suffering the effects of poverty. To them, this isn't a one-day issue, it's an everyday battle.
From the Gold State Coach and Royal Halls, politics and the royals were speaking about wealth and growth less than a month ago. At the same time, however, poverty is still a huge issue in this city. A recent study published by the SCP shows that even though improvements are happening very slowly, still nearly 11%, over 60.000 Rotterdam citizens, suffer from poverty. For reference: the national percentage is 5.7%
The definition used within this study, states that poverty is considered when people are unable to pay and/or provide for the goods and needs that are deemed vital in society over a longer period of time, such as housing and food.
When looking at specific groups, the children of Rotterdam are a group that suffers enormously. Not one other municipality has more poverty among children with a staggering 16,7% - nearly 9 percent more than the national average. The same can be said for people on welfare, nearly 25% of them suffer from poverty. Other vulnerable groups are people that are self-employed and people that have retired.
Specific neighborhoods also suffer more from poverty than others. Bloemhof and Tarewijk both have a percentage of around 17%, Hillesluis, Oud Crooswijk, Oude Noorden en Oud Westen all find themselves around 18% and in Tussendijke, Bospolder en Nieuw-Mathenesse we can even see percentages around 20% or higher.
We think these numbers are completely unacceptable. Especially considering Rotterdam is one of the wealthiest cities in the country. Tackling poverty is one of the main parts of our manifesto.