Material and social deprivation

Material and social deprivation: a new indicator to measure poverty

Households
 Material and social deprivation:  a new indicator to measure poverty

In 2019, 11 % of the Belgian population were faced with a situation of material and social deprivation, according to the new figures of Statbel, the Belgian statistical office. The results come from the EU-SILC survey 2019, which used the new material and social deprivation indicator (MSD)1 developed at European level.

These results are the first available indicators of poverty in Belgium (SILC survey 2019) and will be complemented with monetary indicators in the coming months. Due to a thorough methodological reform, the results are now available at regional level.

  • There are marked differences among the three regions: 21.5 % of the inhabitants of Brussels were in this precarious situation, compared to 15.3 % in Wallonia and 6.6 % in Flanders.
  • About a quarter of Belgians could not afford a week's holiday away from home in 2019 or were financially unable to face an unexpected expense.
  • Single parents and their children (30.2 %) experienced much more difficulties than all the other categories.

Material and social deprivation - 2019

Share of the population materially and socially deprived - 2019 %
Belgium 11,0%
Brussels-Capital Region 21,5%
Flemish Region 6,6%
Walloon Region 15,3%
Men 10,6%
Women 11,3%
0-17 13,1%
18-24 8,0%
25-49 11,5%
50-64 12,6%
65+ 7,0%
Single parents, at least 1 dependent child 30,2%
2 adults, at least 1 dependent child 8,2%
2 adults, at least 1 over 65 4,9%
2 adults, both < 65 8,7%
Singles 18,5%
Other 7,5%


Remarks:

In order to meet European requirements, the SILC survey was thoroughly reformed in 2019. This reform makes it possible to calculate the results more accurately. The questionnaire can also be shortened so that the burden on the participating households is substantially reduced. As a result of these changes, the results from 2019 onwards are not comparable with those of previous years. Technical note - 2019 SILC reform

At the same time, a correction of the weight calculation was made to the previously published results of SILC 2016, SILC 2017 and SILC 2018. Our statisticians drew up an overview of the impact of this correction: Technical note - review


1 The material and social deprivation indicator (MSD) will eventually replace the severe material deprivation indicator (SMD) previously used. The latter indicator contains nine items, six of which are still in the new MSD indicator.

Table
Content

Material and social deprivation - 2019

Share of the population materially and socially deprived - 2019 %
Belgium 11,0%
Brussels-Capital Region 21,5%
Flemish Region 6,6%
Walloon Region 15,3%
Men 10,6%
Women 11,3%
0-17 13,1%
18-24 8,0%
25-49 11,5%
50-64 12,6%
65+ 7,0%
Single parents, at least 1 dependent child 30,2%
2 adults, at least 1 dependent child 8,2%
2 adults, at least 1 over 65 4,9%
2 adults, both < 65 8,7%
Singles 18,5%
Other 7,5%

Purpose and brief description

"EU-SILC" (European Union - Statistics on Income and Living Conditions) is a European survey on income and living conditions and an important tool to map poverty and social exclusion at Belgian and European level.

In Belgium, the EU-SILC survey is organised by Statbel. Every year, about 6,000 households (or 11,000 people) are surveyed and followed up for a maximum of four consecutive years. In the SILC survey, social exclusion is regarded as the result of several factors such as income, employment, health and education level.

Population

Private households

Data collection method and sample size

CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview).

Respons

60% (N= ± 6000 households).

Frequency

Annually.

Timing publication

Not specified (due to a major reform of the survey) – final results available in October after the survey year.

Definitions

Calculation of the monetary poverty risk (AROP)

The poverty threshold is set at 60 % of the median disposable income at individual level. It is calculated as follows: 60 % of 22,784 euros per year equals to a threshold of 13,670 euros per year or 1,139 euros per month for a single person. For households, this threshold is not simply multiplied by the number of household members. Considering that household members share costs and expenditures, a factor of 0.5 is applied to a second adult in a household in the calculation of the poverty threshold, and a factor of only 0.3 is applied to children (<14 years). The poverty threshold for a household consisting of two adults and two children is therefore obtained by multiplying the threshold of single people by a factor of 2.1 [(€13,670 *2.1)/12 = €2,392 per month]. This factor of 2.1 is calculated by assigning a weight of 1 to the head of the household, of 0.5 to the second adult of the household and of 0.3 to each child.

Households with low work intensity (LWI)

These are the households where adults (aged 18 to 59, excluding students) have worked on average less than one fifth of the time during the reference year.

Material deprivation (SMD): details of the indicator

People considered as "severely materially deprived" are confronted with at least four of the nine following situations: they cannot afford to pay rent or utility bills, to keep their home adequately warm, to face unexpected expenses, to eat meat, fish or a protein equivalent every second day, to go on a one-week holiday away from home, to have a car, a washing machine, a colour TV or a telephone.

European poverty indicator: AROPE (At Risk of Poverty or Social Exclusion)

This indicator is derived from the three indicators mentioned above (AROP, LWI, SMD). If one or more of the conditions are met, i.e. if the household in which the person lives is characterised by low income and/or low work intensity and/or severe material deprivation, that person is considered at risk of poverty and/or social exclusion (multidimensional poverty).

More definitions...

Comments

  • Break in the 2013 series for the unemployed
  • 2016 to 2018: figures revised on 12/03/2020
  • 2019: time series break due to a major reform of the survey

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