As many as 37.8% of the inhabitants of Brussels were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2019, annual poverty indicators of the Statbel statistical office show.
This marks the first time the indicators have been broken down to provincial level. The risk of poverty appears to be a lot higher in Wallonia than in Flanders.
According to the European agreed definition, the risk of poverty or social exclusion refers to the situation in which persons are confronted with at least one of the three poverty risks: monetary poverty, severe material deprivation, or living in a household with very low work intensity.
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In Belgium, 19.5% of the population is at risk of poverty or social exclusion according to this definition. But that figure hides considerable regional disparities: Brussels stands out at 37.8%, Flanders at 13.2% and Wallonia at 24.6%. Hainaut is the outlier in Wallonia at 29.5%. In Flanders it is Antwerp with 16.2%.
The study also reveals a problematic housing situation in the capital. Of all Belgians, 8.3% live in a household where more than 40% of their income is spent on housing. In Brussels, this is the case for almost a fifth (19.5%) of households.
Still in Brussels, 29.8% of households live in a house that is too small for the number of people living there. In Flanders, the figure is 5.7% and in Wallonia 5.4%.
The Brussels Times