Digital divide remains wide between low-skilled and highly-skilled people
Statbel publishes for the first time figures on the digital skills of Belgians based on the ICT survey among households. Data are currently available for the years 2015-2019. A distinction is made between four different types of skills.
Some striking overall results where the respondents indicate to have more than basic digital skills:
- One third of Belgians indicate in 2019 to have more than basic skills;
- The gap between women and men is relatively small, with respectively 32 % and 37 %;
- The gap between low-skilled and highly-skilled people is significant with respectively 15 % and 57 %, and did not become smaller between 2015 and 2019;
- Students register the best results with 61 %, inactive people the lowest results with 11 %;
- Brussels and Flanders are slightly ahead of Wallonia when it comes to having more than basic digital skills.
Information skills involve activities such as copying or moving files or folders, using storage space on the Internet, searching for information on government websites, searching for information about goods or services, searching for information related to health:
- Three out of four Belgians say they have more than basic information skills in 2019;
- There is hardly any difference between men and women in terms of information skills;
- More than 90 % of highly-skilled people say they have more than basic knowledge, compared to only half of the low-skilled people;
- 47 % of people aged over 65 say they have more than basic skills in 2019. In 2015, this was only 37 %.
Communication skills are activities such as sending and/or receiving e-mails, using social networks, making telephone or video calls over the Internet, uploading self-created material:
- Almost four out of five Belgians say they have more than basic communication skills in 2019;
- There is hardly any difference between men and women in terms of communication skills;
- More than 90 % of highly-skilled people say they have more than basic knowledge, compared to little over 60 % of the low-skilled people;
- 48 % of people aged over 65 say they have more than basic skills in 2019. In 2015, this was only 32 %.
In addition, software skills and problem-solving skills were also surveyed. All details can be found in the downloadable tables.
 A distinction was made between ‘no skills’, ‘basic skills’ and ‘more than basic skills’.
Purpose and brief description
This data collection from households and individuals aims to compile internationally comparable statistics from national indicators on the digital divide.
Moreover, the survey is subsidised by Eurostat, the European statistical office.
Field of research
The survey on ICT usage by households and individuals is coupled to the Labour Force Survey as a special ‘ICT and Internet’ module. A randomly selected person in the household answers all the questions, over both the situation of the household and his/her individual situation.
Data collection method and sample size
Data collection method
There are two data collection methods for the ICT survey among households and individuals since 2009: a web application and a paper form. When the LFS survey is completed, the interviewer selects among the household members on the basis of the birth dates who will have to answer the questions on ICT usage. The interviewer hands a paper form and a paid envelope over as well as a document with instructions and access codes for the web application. A reminder is sent to the households who didn’t answer within two or three weeks after the interviewer’s visit. Before 2009, the interviewer interviewed households orally following the LFS survey.
The sample of the ICT survey among households and individuals is coupled to the LFS survey. All households having taken part to the LFS survey are invited to answer the questions on ICT usage.
The response rate of the ICT survey is 67 % of the households who took part to the LFS survey. The response rate compared to the initial gross sample is 45 %.
The ICT survey is organised on a yearly basis.
Timing of publication
The data have to be sent to Eurostat by the beginning of October. The results are available for the general public by the end of the year.