Young people between 15 and 24 were the hardest hit by the economic crisis that hit Belgium in 2008. Today nearly 13% of them are unemployed with no qualifications, according to the latest Innocenti census by Unicef, presented in Brussels on Tuesday. The number of “NEET” in Belgium, young people that have left school, aren’t in training and have no job, rose by 3% in the four years the economic crisis lasted. “By going into the job market in the middle of a recession, they were the first to struggle”, says Chris de Neubourg, from the Innocenti research centre.
The effects of the economic crisis were not, however, unmanageable, he remind us. “The country managed to protect children from the effects of the economic crisis.” Belgium was indeed among the smart ones as over the last few years it has managed to reduce the poverty rate among children from 17.2% to 16.4%.
There is still a large gap between the different regions. Although Flanders has a small amount of children living in poverty, Wallonia has more than Lithuania and the Brussels region is the worst among the OCDE countries.
In general, families with children were hit hard by the recession. Between 2008 and 2013, they lost 6 years of progress, according to Eurostadt.