59.4% of adults in Belgium live with a partner, according to figures published by Statbel (Statistics Belgium, the statistics branch of the Ministry of Economy). These figures reflect the situation in Belgium on January 1st, 2011. According to results of a study of Belgians aged 18 and over, almost half (48%) are married. 3.1% are legal cohabitants and 8.3% are de facto partners.
Regional and sub-regional variations appear. For example, 63.3% of adults in Flanders live with a partner as opposed to 56.6% in Wallonia and 45,9% in the Brussels region.
The 3 Belgian towns with the highest proportion of couples are all in West Flanders: Lichtervelde (71.3%), Zedelgem (71.1%) and Oudenburg (71.0%). The first Walloon town on the list, Mont-de-l’Enclus in the Hainaut region comes in at #80 with 67.9% of adults living with a partner. Léglise (67.9%) and Attert (67.8%) in Luxembourg are included in the Walloon ranking.
By comparison couples are in a minority in Brussels (45.9%). Ixelles, with a large student population, has only 32.2% of adults living with a partner, the lowest figure in the country. Neighbouring towns of Saint-Gilles (39% of people living with a partner) and Etterbeek (40.5%) seem to draw single adults as well. In Wallonia, Liege is the city with the fewest couples (41.6%).
The study also looks at gay marriage. On January 1st, 2011, 13,614 people were married to someone of the same gender, which represents 0.16% of the population. The smallest town in the country, Herstappe, is the only one where the ratio of gay couples is over 1% of the population at 1.4%).