Monitoring of living conditions

Decrease in happiness and increase in loneliness among young people

Households
Decrease in happiness and increase in loneliness among young people

In the quarterly survey on their personal well-being and living conditions, Statbel questioned some 5000 Belgians between the ages of 16 and 74. This survey was conducted, among others, at the request of Eurostat, in order to monitor the social recovery in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results of the 4th quarter 2021 are presented.

8.3% of Belgians always or usually felt lonely in the four weeks prior to the survey, while 1 in 3 Belgians never felt lonely (34.3%).

About two thirds of Belgians always (9.6%) or usually (56.7%) felt happy in the four weeks before the survey.

In the 3rd quarter of 2021, 8.5% of people aged 65 to 74 compared to 4.8% of people aged 16 to 24 always or mostly felt lonely in the four weeks prior to the survey. Whereas loneliness in the 3rd quarter of 2021 rather appeared to be a problem for the older part of the population, in the 4th quarter of 2021, young people also more often indicated that they always or usually feel lonely (12.1% of 65-74-year-olds and 12.7% of 16-24-year-olds). At the same time, we see a decline in the feeling of happiness among 16-24-year-olds: in the 3rd quarter, 22.7% of them always felt happy, whereas in the 4th quarter only 12.2% indicated they always felt happy.

Belgians were asked to give a score out of ten for their financial situation, their personal relationships and their general life satisfaction. On average, personal relationships scored the highest with 7.8/10, both in the fourth and third quarter of 2021. This is followed by general life satisfaction with 7.3/10 and 7.5/10 respectively, and the financial situation with 6.8/10 and 7/10 respectively.

Three quarters of Belgians (73.7%) indicate that their total disposable household income has remained more or less the same in the past month compared to 12 months before. About 11% of Belgians report that their total disposable household income is lower than 12 months before. Some indicate that the total disposable household income is higher compared to 12 months ago. This concerns 9.6% of Belgians in the 3rd quarter and 13.7% in the 4th.

13.9% of Belgians find it difficult or very difficult to make ends meet in the 4th quarter of 2021. This is a slight increase compared to the 3rd quarter, when 11.7% considered their situation to be precarious. We also see an upward trend when we look at the figures regionally. The percentage that finds it difficult to make ends meet is highest in the Brussels-Capital Region, with 24.5% in the 4th quarter and 22.5% in the 3rd quarter, followed by Wallonia with 17.5% and 15.8% respectively, and Flanders with 9.9% and 7.4% respectively.

Purpose and brief description

IALC (Infra Annual Living Conditions) is a quarterly survey on living conditions.
The objective of this survey is to monitor the social recovery in times of the Covid-19 pandemic At European level, IALC is an input for the ‘European Statistical Recovery Dashboard’ that collects  monthly/quarterly indicators to track economic and social developments during the recovery.

Population

Members of private households aged 16 to 74.

Sample frame

Demographic data from the National Register.

Data collection method and sample size

The IALC survey was coupled to the Labour Force Survey (LFS). A limited module of questions was added at the end of the questionnaire for the respondents in the fourth wave of the LFS survey (in the CAWI/WATI questionnaire). This survey started in the third quarter of 2021 and is scheduled until the fourth quarter of 2022.

Questionnair

Questionnair

Response rate

Statbel surveys some 5.000 Belgians aged 16 to 74. 

Periodicity

Quarterly