Risk of poverty or social exclusion

In 2018, 19.8% of the Belgian population was at risk of poverty or social exclusion. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must be reduced to 10.6%. The Federal Planning Bureauʹs projections (available in April 2019) indicate that this objective will not be reached. The risk of poverty or social exclusion is therefore developing unfavourably.

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Risk of poverty or social exclusion - Belgium - trend assessment

percentage of population

 2004200520102015201620172018202020252030
observations21.622.620.821.120.720.319.8------
projection (April 2019)--------------20.420.220.4
objective 203010.610.610.610.610.610.610.610.610.610.6

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2019), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_peps01, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 27/09/2019), calculations FPB based on Frère (2016), The population at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Belgium - Projection until 2030, Working paper 12-16 and Federal Planning Bureau and High Council of Finance (2018), Studiecommissie voor de vergrijzing - Jaarlijks verslag - Juli 2018.

Risk of poverty or social exclusion - Belgium and international comparison

percentage of population

 200420052010201320152016201720182018//20042018//2013
Belgium21.622.620.820.821.120.720.319.8-0.6-1.0
EU28----23.824.623.823.522.4------
//: Average Growth Rates

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2019), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_peps01, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 27/09/2019).

Risk of poverty or social exclusion by region - Belgium

percentage of population

 200420052010201320152016201720182018//20042018//2013
Brussels-Capital Region------40.538.037.938.738.0---1.3
Flemish Region------15.415.014.513.512.9---3.5
Walloon Region------24.226.326.226.626.2--1.6
//: Average Growth Rates

The uncertainty margin for this indicator for 2018 is shown in the text.

Statistics Belgium (2012-2019), SILC Quality Reports 2011-2018, https://statbel.fgov.be/nl/themas/huishoudens/armoede-en-levensomstandigheden/risico-op-armoede-sociale-uitsluiting/plus (consulted on 14/10/2019).

Risk of poverty or social exclusion by sex - Belgium

percentage of population

 200420052010201320152016201720182018//20042018//2013
females22.923.721.721.222.222.021.420.7-0.7-0.5
males20.321.420.020.420.019.419.118.8-0.5-1.6
//: Average Growth Rates

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2019), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_peps01, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 27/09/2019).

Risk of poverty or social exclusion by age - Belgium

percentage of population

 200420052010201320152016201720182018//20042018//2013
<1822.723.723.221.923.321.622.023.20.21.2
18-6421.221.920.020.821.721.720.719.3-0.7-1.5
>6422.023.321.019.516.216.417.117.6-1.6-2.0
//: Average Growth Rates

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2019), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_peps01, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 27/09/2019).

Risk of poverty or social exclusion by education - Belgium

percentage of population aged 18 years or over

 200420052010201320152016201720182018//20042018//2013
less than primary, primary and lower secondary education32.332.132.434.735.434.334.233.30.2-0.8
upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education19.119.417.217.919.819.919.518.6-0.20.8
tertiary education10.010.09.010.710.510.19.18.1-1.5-5.4
//: Average Growth Rates

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2019), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_peps04, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 27/09/2019).

Risk of poverty or social exclusion by household type - Belgium

percentage of population

 200420052010201320152016201720182018//20042018//2013
single person34.035.430.633.531.530.930.429.9-0.9-2.2
single person with dependent children57.851.749.654.548.953.049.750.5-1.0-1.5
two adults23.322.320.118.315.617.416.715.8-2.7-2.9
two adults with one dependent child12.713.513.013.412.913.215.113.70.50.4
two adults with two dependent children10.711.612.08.612.29.510.910.80.14.7
two adults with three or more dependent children20.523.420.623.424.122.020.527.22.03.1
//: Average Growth Rates

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2019), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_peps03, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 27/09/2019).

Risk of poverty or social exclusion by activity status - Belgium

percentage of population aged 18 years and over

 200420052010201320152016201720182018//20042018//2013
employed5.76.36.56.06.16.36.46.20.60.7
not employed36.637.933.835.534.633.833.031.9-1.0-2.1
unemployed60.264.153.469.867.666.265.963.20.3-2.0
retired22.023.819.719.416.316.416.316.2-2.2-3.5
other inactive41.841.041.445.547.447.646.746.50.80.4
//: Average Growth Rates

break in time series: 2013

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2019), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_peps02, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 27/09/2019).

Risk of poverty or social exclusion by income - Belgium

percentage of population

 200420052010201320152016201720182018//20042018//2013
quintile 180.482.681.282.482.384.584.885.60.40.8
quintile 216.817.614.914.615.113.211.69.5-4.0-8.2
quintile 37.57.64.44.45.64.03.32.2-8.4-12.9
quintile 42.63.52.21.91.71.21.30.6-9.9-20.6
quintile 50.91.61.51.10.80.60.80.8-0.8-6.2
//: Average Growth Rates

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2019), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_peps03, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 27/09/2019).

Definition: the share of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion is calculated as the ratio of the people belonging to at least one of three sub-populations and the total population. These sub-populations are people at risk of poverty, people living in a household with a very low work intensity and severally materially deprived people.

Data on the share of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion used here are based on the Statistics on Income and Living Conditions survey (EU-SILC) of the European Union. Statistics Belgium organises this EU-harmonised survey in Belgium and makes the results available, in particular to Eurostat. The data used here come from Eurostat, which publishes detailed and comparable results between EU Member States. Since these data are based on surveys, a margin of uncertainty should be taken into account. This margin of uncertainty increases as the indicator is calculated on smaller sub-populations. The confidence intervals for these data are available on request from Statistics Belgium.

Goal: the share of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion must be halved, i.e. decrease from 21.1% in 2015 to 10.6% in 2030.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include target 1.2: “By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions”. In the Belgian context, it means that, by 2030, the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion must be halved, i.e. decrease from 21.1% in 2015 to 10.6% in 2030.

Moreover, the Europe 2020 Strategy (European Commission, 2010) also includes a target for Belgium: the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the European Union must be reduced by 20 million between 2008 and 2018. Belgium has committed itself to reduce this target group from 2.19 million people in 2008 to 1.81 million people in 2018. This corresponds to a decrease by 380 000 people.

As concerns the monitoring of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the setting of possible reduction targets at EU level by 2030, it should be noted that in the beginning of 2019, the EC presented a reflection paper with three scenarios for a sustainable Europe by 2030 (European Commission, 2019). In the first scenario, global and guiding SDG implementation targets would be defined at EU level and would endorse national SDG strategies. Under the second scenario, SDGs are used to guide the development of the post-EU2020 growth strategy, focussing on areas with most EU added value, including social inclusion and cohesion policies. The third scenario focuses on the EU foreign policy only.

International comparison: this indicator decreased in the EU28 from 23.8% in 2010 to 22.4% in 2017. On average, it is lower in Belgium than in the EU28. The difference is 3.1 percentage points. When Member States are divided into three groups, Belgium is part of the group with average performance and outperforms the European average in 2017.

UN indicator: the selected indicator corresponds to indicator 1.2.2 - Proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions.

Sources

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