Some 2.29 million Belgians are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Even though targets for 2020 will be achieved, Belgium is way off its main objective, that is to eradicate poverty by 2050, says the 2015 review of sustainable development indicators carried out by the Office of Planning.
The federal government set the following objective in 2013: “Everyone will have income from work, assets, or a replacement income, and will have access to services of general interest. Everyone will thus be able to meet their needs in order to enjoy life with dignity.”
In the wake of a European-wide strategy, Belgium committed to reducing by 380,000 the number of citizens at risk of poverty or social exclusion between 2008 and 2018, a reduction of 17.3%. In 2008 there were 2.19 million people in that group, and 2.29 million in 2013. “Based on the trend of this indicator between 2009 and 2013, there is very little chance we will hit target on time,” pointed out the Office of Planning.
If 2020 targets were achieved and trends continued in the same way, “the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion will still reach almost 1 million (in 2050), whereas the objective was to eradicate poverty,” points out the Office of Planning.
The number of people at risk of falling into poverty is the number of people whose household net equivalised disposable income is below 60% of the median net equivalised disposable income of the general population (1,074 euros per month for a single person according to the ministry of Economy). As well as poverty, 3 other indicators in the “social inclusion” category are receding: youth unemployment rates, hypertension, and adult obesity. At the same time, 2 indicators are trending upwards: school drop-out rates and life expectancy.