Statbel DataLab: new statistics, methods and data sources beta version
54 % of couples with children living at home have two cars or more
Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, maps for the first time the car ownership of Belgian households based on administrative sources. Before, the number of Belgian households that did or did not have one or several cars could only be estimated based on surveys. To remedy this situation, we have developed an experimental coupling which gives us a more precise, though still incomplete, view (see methodological note).
In 2019, 54 % of couples with children living at home have two cars or more; 14 % of these households even have three cars of more.
However, one third of single parents do not own a car and about half of people living alone do not have a car, while only 11 % of couples with or without children can manage without a car.
Table 1: Number of vehicles per household by household type - percentage distribution by household type
|Number of persons||Number of cars per HH|
|Persons living alone||15.0%||49.9%||46.8%||2.8%||0.3%||0.1%||0.0%||0.0%|
|Couples with no children living at home||22.2%||12.5%||57.8%||25.3%||3.5%||0.6%||0.2%||0.1%|
|Couples with children living at home||48.2%||9.2%||36.8%||39.6%||10.8%||2.6%||0.6%||0.3%|
|Other types of households||3.1%||38.9%||37.5%||19.0%||3.4%||0.7%||0.2%||0.2%|
|Number of households||26.8%||46.9%||20.5%||4.4%||1.0%||0.2%||0.1%|
Table 2: Number of vehicles per household by household type - absolute numbers
|Number of persons||Number of cars per HH||Number of households|
|Persons living alone||1,718,738||857,791||804,548||48,762||5,527||1,268||410||432||1,718,738|
|Couples with no children living at home||2,538,616||156,679||723,795||317,194||44,328||7,619||2,032||1,621||1,253,268|
|Couples with children living at home||5,508,626||128,385||512,199||551,243||149,966||36,538||8,169||4,011||1,390,511|
|Other types of households||357,581||40,260||38,842||19,693||3,546||752||240||200||103,533|
|Number of households||1,329,776||2,325,452||1,014,803||218,469||48,720||11,413||6,592||4,955,225|
In order to identify households with vehicles registered in Belgium, we coupled the population file 2019 and that of the DIV 2019, on the one hand, and the population file and Belcotax data, on the other hand. Coupling the population file 2019 with the DIV resulted in the direct identification of 4,697,245 vehicles registered in the name of a natural person. In addition to these vehicles, there are also 994,624 vehicles registered in the DIV under an enterprise number. These cars cover a wide range of applications, including service vehicles, leased vehicles and of course company cars (e.g. registered in the name of a leasing company).
As is well known, this last group of cars plays a substantial role in our country when it comes to car ownership. However, based on the DIV, it is not possible to distinguish between the different types of use for vehicles registered under an enterprise number.
We therefore followed a different strategy and included certain fiscal data in this coupling (the so-called Belcotax data). This way, we identified 613,603 cars (of the 994,624 cars registered in the DIV under an enterprise number) that we can attribute to households. We submitted this figure to experts. They indicated an underestimation of about 150,000 (company) cars. This is about 3 % of the total number of vehicles that we coupled (5,311,000 ).
In addition to consultation with experts, we also validated these data against our surveys. The results of this validation were positive.
Survey data do not allow detailed geographical analysis, which is obviously important in mobility studies.
This is however possible based on administrative data sources. This is why Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, coupled various databases in an innovative way and managed to map the car ownership of Belgian households.
The results and methodology of this work were validated by a large group of experts in mobility. They confirm the great value of the new data (compared to survey data), but indicate an underestimation of approximately 150,000 cars (3 % of the 5,311,000 vehicles that we coupled). We therefore stress that the results below are not definitive, but we can state that possible shifts in the percentage distribution by household type will be relatively small.
 The declaration of a car can be made for self-employed company directors by declaring the "benefit in kind due to the use of a company car" in tax sheet 281.20 - for employees by declaring the "benefit in kind due to the use of a company car" in tax sheet 281.10.
According to experts, the underestimation of the number of company cars is not due to individual citizens not declaring them (since, in practice, declarations are often prepared by personnel services and social bureaus). We continue to analyse the quality of the coupling (e.g., the differences in extraction moments) as well as the possibility to include information via other data sources.