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    Housing claims 34% of budgets in Brussels

    © Belga

    Brussels’ residents devote on average 34% of their budgets to housing, their biggest expense, much more than their spending on food (17%), a new report shows.

    People in Flanders and Wallonia, spent less – about 30% of their budgets – on housing, according to the 2020 edition of ‘Mini-bru’, an updated summary of quantified data on the capital region published by l’Institut Bruxellois de Statistique et d’Analyse (IBSA -Brussels Institute of Statistics and Analysis).

    The report shows that, in 2019, the population of Brussels Region topped the 1.2-million mark for the first time ever. The region also has a younger population than the rest of the country: the average Brussels resident is 37.5 years old as against 41.4 years for Wallonia and 42.7 for Flanders. However, the average age is on the rise in the capital, for the third straight year, after dropping sharply in the years 2000.

    The top 5 foreign European nationalities represented in Brussels remained unchanged between 2018 and 2019. French citizens (64,218 persons) remained in 1st place, followed by Rumanians (41,858), Italians (33,718), Spaniards (28,480) and Poles (23,182) – 1 January 2019 figures.

    Syria moved up to the top 3 among non-EU countries with nationals in Brussels. With 8,474 of its citizens in the Capital Region, it took last year’s third-place from the Democratic Republic of Congo (8,125). Second-placed Turkey had 8,522 nationals in the capital, and Morocco 34,984.

    According to the report’s mobility and employment statistics, there were 356,000 incoming commuters and 74,000 outgoing commuters in Brussels. Judging from the data quoted at the start of the workforce survey for 2018, just under half of all jobs located in Brussels are held by workers residing in the other two regions: 60% of these workers come from Flanders and 40% from Wallonia.

    The 2018 survey also showed that just over 108,000 businesses to which VAT applied were active in the Brussels-Capital Region. Of this 80 % employed no salaried workers and only 1% had 50 or more employees.

    Fewer people are travelling by car to and from work: 36% as against 45% in 2005. On the other hand, more commuters opt for public transport: train use, 34% of the total in 2017, was 2% higher than in 2005, while 19% of capital residents commuted by subway, tram or bus, a 4% increase on 2005.

    An increasing number of commuters are also opting for soft mobility. In 2017, about 4.4% of capital residents went to work by cycle, as against 1.2% in 2005, while 3.5% walked to and from work, up from 2.6% in 2005.

    The Mini-bru 2020 also has other data, including figures on health. Among Brussels residents aged 18 years or over, 51% of men were overweight in 2018, as were 42% of women. The increase was significant for women: in 2008, overweight women had made up 33% of the total female population over the age of 18.

    This trend is even more marked in the case of obesity. In 2008, it was less prevalent in women than in men, 11.9% and 13.6% respectively. In 2018, the percentage was higher among women than among men: 14.5% and 13.3% respectively.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times