As energy prices and the overall cost of living continue to skyrocket, households in Belgium are struggling to make ends meet, despite having a higher income.
More than 70% of Belgians (71.3%) said that they had the same amount of disposable income in the first quarter of 2022 as they did around this time last year, despite one in five having a higher household income, according to a survey from Statbel on personal well-being and living conditions.
The increase in income is largely (68.9%) attributed to indexation (the adjustment of wages along with the increase in the cost of living, which is guaranteed in Belgium).
However, the percentage of people living in Belgium who find it (very) difficult to make ends meet in the first quarter of 2022 remained stable (14.1%), with the percentage being highest in Brussels (20.7%).
Another survey, however, showed that more than half (54%) of Brussels residents currently barely make enough money to get through the month.
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The increase per quarter is proportionally largest among pensioners (13.2% in the first trimester of 2022) but is still the strongest among employed people (23.7% in the same period).
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Meanwhile, the number of 16-24 year-olds that indicated always or usually feeling lonely in the first quarter of 2022 decreases from 12.7% at the end of last year to 5.6%, most likely due to the opening up of society.
However, this is not reflected in young people's feelings of happiness, which has remained stable between the fourth quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022 (67.9% and 66.2%). In the third quarter of 2021, 78.7% felt happy all or most of the time.