Belgians experience increasing difficulties in making ends meet

Belgians experience increasing difficulties in making ends meet

While in the 3rd quarter 2021[1], 35.7% of Belgians said they found it difficult to make ends meet, this figure went up to 46.7% in the 4th quarter 2022. This is what emerged from the quarterly survey on personal well-being and living conditions carried out by Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, in the fourth quarter 2022. About 5,000 persons aged 16 to 74 were asked about their financial situation and well-being.

It is striking that the number of Belgians having difficulties to make ends meet steadily increased in recent quarters. There are clear differences according to the income group: Belgians in the first quintile (68.5%), with the lowest income, clearly have more difficulties than those in the fifth quintile, with the highest income (21.6%). Nevertheless, the latter also have increasing difficulties: in the 3rd quarter 2021, 13.3% of people in the fifth quintile had difficulties to make ends meet. This figure went up to 21.6% in the 4th quarter 2022.

These difficulties seem to have a (limited) impact on the satisfaction with their financial situation. On average, Belgians gave a score of 7 out of 10 in the 3rd quarter 2021, which dropped to 6.7 in the 4th quarter 2022. Once again, there are differences according to the income: the higher the income, the greater the satisfaction. For the lowest income, this score remained quite stable between the 3rd quarter 2021 (6.4) and the 4th quarter 2022 (6.3), while we notice a decrease for the highest income from 7.7 to 7.3.

[1] This survey started in the third quarter of 2021 and is scheduled until the fourth quarter of 2024.