Expatica news

Poverty ‘still trapping’many Belgian families

23 November 2004

BRUSSELS – A significant number of Belgian families are still living below the poverty line, according to a new study .

The study, conducted by Liege and Antwerp universities between 1992 and 2002, shows that 3.75 percent of Belgian households are considered to be “very poor,”La Libre Belgique reported on Tuesday.

Around thirty percent of families say they have difficulty making ends meet every month, while a further ten percent admit that for varying periods they have been living without the official minimum means.

Although poverty figures have fallen over the past ten years, the survey shows that larger families have more difficulty staying afloat financially.

In 1992, one in twenty households (five percent) were below the poverty line.

In 2002 the figure was 4.74 percent.

The figures also show that 26 percent of poor families cannot go on holiday and 25 percent do not have a car.

The study was conducted among 3,000 families annually, looking at their work, health, family composition, lodging and income.

It found that depression can play a significant role in making families poorer.

It also reveals many young people have difficulty finding work.

Women often find it the most difficult to find work if they do not have a university degree.

Fifty percent of those who only have a secondary school certificate are unemployed five years after leaving school, compared to 13 percent of women who have a degree.

Men also earn more, with an net average of EUR 1,190 monthly five years after leaving education, comparing to EUR 1,031 for women.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news