Monitoring of living conditions

Most vulnerable people are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet

Households
Most vulnerable people are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet

In Belgium, the percentage of the population aged 16-74 having difficulties or great difficulties making ends meet rose from 11.7% in the third quarter of 2021 to 16.1% in the second quarter of 2022. This is what emerged from the latest results of the quarterly survey on living conditions[1] conducted by Statbel, the Belgian statistical office.

The Brussels-Capital Region has the highest percentage with 29.4%, followed by Wallonia with 21.1% and Flanders with 10.8%.

Increase for almost all categories of the population

Among the 20% of people with the lowest incomes (first income quintile), making ends meet is difficult or very difficult for 34.2% of them in the second quarter of 2022, compared with 23.9% in the third quarter of 2021, when this was first measured in the survey. The increase from 16.8% to 24.6% is also significant for people in the second quintile.

Similarly, more than a third of single parents (34%) now find it difficult or very difficult to make ends meet, up from 17.6% in in the third quarter of 2021.

Students and retired persons are also increasingly facing difficulties. The increase is dramatic for students, with 18.2% of them having difficulties making ends meet in the second quarter of 2022, up from 10.7% in the third quarter of 2021. In the second quarter of 2022, 15.5% of retired persons reported (major) difficulties in making ends meet, compared to 10.8% in the third quarter of 2021.

Although the proportion of people affected is much lower among workers, having a job does not protect 10.4% of workers from experiencing (major) difficulties in making ends meet. This is a 60% increase compared to the percentage of workers reporting difficulties in the third quarter of 2021 (6.5%).

66% of Belgians feel happy

On the other hand, this increase in reported difficulties in making ends meet does not seem to impact the overall level of feeling of happiness. It has remained stable since it was first measured in the survey. Respectively 66.5%, 66.3% and 63.3% of the population felt always or most of the time happy in the first 3 quarters of the survey (Q3 2021 to Q1 2022) while in the second quarter of 2022 65.9% felt always or most of the time happy.


[1] These results come from the quarterly survey on personal well-being and living conditions of Belgians aged 16 to 74. This survey is conducted at the request of Eurostat in order to monitor social recovery during the covid-19 pandemic.

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.

Definitions

Low-skilled people are people who have at best a lower secondary education diploma. Medium-skilled people have obtained an upper secondary education diploma, but no higher education diploma. High-skilled people have a higher education diploma.

Questionnair

Questionnair

Response rate

Statbel surveys some 5.000 Belgians aged 16 to 74. 

Periodicity

Quarterly