Material and social deprivation

Material and social deprivation in 2020

Households

Table of Contents

    Material and social deprivation in 2020

    In 2020, 11 % of the Belgian population was faced with material and social deprivation. 

    This is what emerged from the new figures of Statbel, the Belgian statistical office. These results come from the 2020 EU-SILC survey. 

    • Regional differences are significant:  20.5 % of the inhabitants of Brussels were in a precarious situation, compared to 15.8 % of the population in Wallonia and 6.6 % in Flanders.  
    • In 2020, about one quarter of Belgians were financially unable to face an unexpected expense and 2.2 % could not afford an Internet connection at home.
    • Single parents and their children experienced much more difficulties than the other categories. 28.6 % of them were in a situation of material and social deprivation.
    • Furthermore, the share of the population where the household says that it has (great) difficulties to make ends meet is 16.7 %. 
    • Finally, 10.4 % of the population consider that their overall income decreased in 2020 compared to 12 months earlier, and 5.3 % expect to see their overall income decrease in the next 12 months.

    Percentage of the population in a situation of material and social deprivation

    Material and social deprivation - Belgium 2019 2020
    Total 11.0% 11.0%
    Per region
    Brussels-Capital Region 21.2% 20.5%
    Flemish Region 6.5% 6.6%
    Walloon Region 15.9% 15.8%
    Per gender
    Men 10.8% 10.6%
    Women 11.3% 11.5%
    Per age group
    0-17 13.1% 11.9%
    18-24 8.5% 10.4%
    25-49 11.4% 11.4%
    50-64 12.7% 13.2%
    65+ 7.0% 7.2%
    Per household type
    1 adult with child(ren) 29.7% 28.6%
    2 adults with child(ren) 8.6% 9.2%
    2 adults without children, at least one 64+ 4.9% 4.4%
    2 adults without children, < 65 8.6% 7.5%
    Single 18.4% 18.7%
    Other 7.6% 7.6%

    Note:

    The COVID pandemic emerged in Belgium during the fieldwork for SILC 2020. The measures taken had a significant impact on the data collection. Therefore, it is difficult to compare the results of SILC 2020 with those of SILC 2019.

    Table
    Content

    Percentage of the population in a situation of material and social deprivation

    Material and social deprivation - Belgium 2019 2020
    Total 11.0% 11.0%
    Per region
    Brussels-Capital Region 21.2% 20.5%
    Flemish Region 6.5% 6.6%
    Walloon Region 15.9% 15.8%
    Per gender
    Men 10.8% 10.6%
    Women 11.3% 11.5%
    Per age group
    0-17 13.1% 11.9%
    18-24 8.5% 10.4%
    25-49 11.4% 11.4%
    50-64 12.7% 13.2%
    65+ 7.0% 7.2%
    Per household type
    1 adult with child(ren) 29.7% 28.6%
    2 adults with child(ren) 8.6% 9.2%
    2 adults without children, at least one 64+ 4.9% 4.4%
    2 adults without children, < 65 8.6% 7.5%
    Single 18.4% 18.7%
    Other 7.6% 7.6%

    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) - Due to COVID-19 situation, temporary switch to CATI (Compter Assisted Telephone Interview).

    Respons

    60% (N= ± 6000 households).

    Frequency

    Annually.

    Timing publication

    Not specified (due to a major reform of the survey).

    Questionaires

    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...

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