10% of Flemings have trouble makings ends meet, 15% can’t afford a holiday

Despite Flanders being one of the most prosperous regions in Europe, around 1 in 10 people in our region have issues making ends meet. The Flemish Bureau of Statistics reports that according to figures from a Europe-wide poverty survey carried out during 2020, 15% of people in Flanders are members of households that don’t have enough disposable income to be able to afford a week’s vacation away from home. 

Poverty is most prevalent among single people, those with low levels of academic attainment, members of one-parent families and people that don’t have jobs. 

Around 10% of people in the Flemish Region (Flanders excluding Brussels) say that they are members of a household that finds it difficult or extremely difficult to make ends meet. This equates to around 660,000 people in Flanders. Meanwhile, 950,000 people say that they are  members of households that are unable to afford a week’s holiday away from home. The figures come from the EU’s 2020 "Statistics on Income and Living Conditions" (SILC) survey.

Of those in relative poverty in Flanders 37% are unemployed, 21% are economically inactive for other reasons (excluding retirement), 25% are members of one-parent families, 27% are in rented accommodation and 17% have low levels of academic attainment. Of course some of those in relative poverty fall into more than one of the categories listed above.

Of those unable to afford a week’s holiday 50% are unemployed, 25% are economically inactive for other reasons (excluding retirement), 32% are members of one-parent families, 28% live alone, 36% live in rented accommodation and 27% have a low level of academic attainment. 

A slight improvement on 2019

The SILC survey received a thorough overhaul in 2019. This means that it is difficult to compare the figures from the 2020 survey with those from previous years. Nevertheless, the Flemish Bureau of Statistics says that the percentage of people in our region that currently live in relative poverty is lower now than was the case between 2009 and 2012. Meanwhile, the percentage of people unable to afford a week’s holiday is currently lower than what it was between 2008 and 2016. 

Situation much worse in Belgium’s other regions

While 12% of the population in Flanders say that they have difficulty making ends meet, this is the case among 26% of people in Wallonia and 36% of people in the Brussels-Capital Region. In Wallonia 33% of people say that they can’t afford a week’s holiday. This compares with 28% in the Brussels-Capital Region and 15% in Flanders.  

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