One in eight Belgians is poor

14th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

14 August 2007, BRUSSELS – No fewer than 12 percent of Belgians are faced with poverty: 6 percent in Flanders, 18 percent in Wallonia, and 28 percent in Brussels, according to a study by the University of Antwerp (UA).

14 August 2007

BRUSSELS – No fewer than 12 percent of Belgians are faced with poverty: 6 percent in Flanders, 18 percent in Wallonia, and 28 percent in Brussels, according to a study by the University of Antwerp (UA).

What was new about the research carried out by Caroline Dewilde and Peter Raeymaeckers is that poverty was not only measured on the basis of below-average income. "People may seem to have a decent income on first glance, yet not be able to pay their hospital bills or buy a computer for their children at college," says sociologist Raeymaeckers.

"That is why we didn't only ask people about their income, but also the extent to which they face difficulty paying their mortgage, telephone bills, healthcare costs, fines or new purchases. If the family gets hit with unexpected costs, many households fall into a deep pit, end up in debt and struggle with poverty because they have no reserves."

The study shows that 15 percent of Belgians face financial difficulties. Half of this group encounters problems because of low income, and are thus poor according to the traditional definition. But within the larger group facing financial difficulties a quarter (26 percent) cannot afford small purchases and more than a third (37 percent) are unable to afford technological aids like a PC.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news

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