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Poverty risk rate in Belgium 2008-2018

Between 2008 and 2018, roughly 15 percent of the Belgium population was at risk of poverty, defined by Statistics Belgium as 60 percent of the average disposable income in the country. People with an income lower than this are considered poor. In 2018, this definition matched nearly 16 percent of the Belgians. Women were especially vulnerable, as the share of women living under the poverty threshold was two percent points higher than the share of men.

 Severe material deprivation in Belgium 

  In the last decade, the share of people suffering from severe material deprivation in Belgium has fortunately decreased, but as of 2018 still five percent of the population fit the EU definition, checking four out of these nine indicators: the inability to pay bills, the inability to properly heat the house, inability to deal with unexpected expenses, inability to eat meat, fish or chicken every two days, inability to go on a week-long holiday abroad, inability to afford a car, inability to afford a washer, inability to buy a television and inability to afford a telephone connection. For example, in 2018 6.3 percent of Belgians was unable to pay their bills in time.

Nearly one quarter of Belgians cannot afford a holiday

   Although the share of Belgians unable to afford a washing machine or telephone was relatively low (1.1 and 0.2 percent respectively), some other indicators proved to be a lot more problematic. In 2018, just over 24 percent of Belgians was not able to pay unexpected expenses, and roughly the same amount of people could not afford to go on a week-long holiday either.

Share of Belgian population at risk of poverty from 2008 to 2018*

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Release date

May 2019



Survey time period

2008 to 2018

Supplementary notes

* According to the definition of Statistics Belgium, the poverty threshold equals 60 percent of the average disposable income on an individual level. People with a lower income are considered poor.

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Statistics on "Key economic indicators in Belgium"

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