Very low work intensity

In 2020, 11.9% of the Belgian population under 60 was living in households with very low work intensity. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must decrease. Between 2004 and 2020 (assessment of June 2021) the trend is undetermined.

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Very low work intensity - Belgium and international comparison

percentage of population aged less than 60

 2004200520102015201920202020//20042020//20152019//2010
Belgium14.715.112.714.912.411.9-1.3-4.4-0.3
EU27----9.910.58.5-------1.7
//: Average Growth Rates

break in series: BE 2019; data collection BE 2020 disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2021), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_lvhl11, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 21/06/2021).

Very low work intensity by region - Belgium

percentage of population aged less than 60

 20112015201920202020//20112020//2015
Brussels-Capital Region27.525.524.127.80.11.7
Flemish Region8.69.87.49.30.9-1.0
Walloon Region18.420.217.118.2-0.1-2.1
//: Average Growth Rates

The margin of uncertainty for this indicator is indicated in the text for the latest year. Break in series: 2019; data collection 2020 disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic

Statistics Belgium (2012), SILC Quality Reports 2011, https://statbel.fgov.be/nl/themas/huishoudens/armoede-en-levensomstandigheden/risico-op-armoede-sociale-uitsluiting/plus (consulted on 14/10/2019) and Statistics Belgium (2021), direct communication, 21/06/2021.

Very low work intensity by sex - Belgium

percentage of population aged less than 60

 2004200520102015201920202020//20042020//2015
females16.116.513.515.812.912.3-1.7-4.9
males13.313.711.914.111.911.6-0.9-3.8
//: Average Growth Rates

break in series: 2019; data collection 2020 disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2021), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_lvhl11, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 21/06/2021).

Very low work intensity by age - Belgium

percentage of population

 2004200520102015201920202020//20042020//2015
<1813.813.412.013.810.410.8-1.5-4.8
18-5915.115.712.915.313.212.4-1.2-4.1
//: Average Growth Rates

break in series: 2019; data collection 2020 disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2021), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_lvhl11, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 21/06/2021).

Very low work intensity by education - Belgium

percentage of population aged 18 to 59 years

 2004200520102015201920202020//20042020//2015
less than primary, primary and lower secondary education29.227.926.836.130.732.40.7-2.1
upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education12.513.410.014.013.912.90.2-1.6
tertiary education6.46.65.47.45.14.8-1.8-8.3
//: Average Growth Rates

break in series: 2019; data collection 2020 disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2021), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_lvhl14, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 21/06/2021).

Very low work intensity by household type - Belgium

percentage of population aged less than 60

 2004200520102015201920202020//20042020//2015
single person30.430.628.731.829.829.1-0.3-1.8
single person with dependent children46.539.535.737.127.332.3-2.3-2.7
two adults21.321.816.215.813.011.7-3.7-5.8
two adults with one dependent child7.17.56.06.69.98.91.46.2
two adults with two dependent children5.05.64.46.43.83.7-1.9-10.4
two adults with three or more dependent children9.29.58.310.39.05.3-3.4-12.4
//: Average Growth Rates

break in series: 2019; data collection 2020 disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2021), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_lvhl13, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 21/06/2021).

Very low work intensity by activity status - Belgium

percentage of population aged less than 60

 2004200520102015201920202020//20042020//2015
employed0.20.30.40.40.30.20.0-12.9
not employed44.246.841.047.044.443.3-0.1-1.6
unemployed62.567.157.361.763.262.00.00.1
retired67.172.667.067.570.864.2-0.3-1.0
other inactive34.834.733.740.639.739.60.8-0.5
//: Average Growth Rates

break in series: 2013, 2019; data collection 2020 disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2021), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_lvhl12, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 21/06/2021).

Very low work intensity by income - Belgium

percentage of population aged less than 60

 2004200520102015201920202020//20042020//2015
quintile 151.754.048.053.749.451.0-0.1-1.0
quintile 219.719.715.216.911.211.8-3.2-6.9
quintile 37.26.33.35.73.62.7-5.9-13.9
quintile 42.12.72.31.51.81.3-3.0-2.8
quintile 50.81.51.50.90.70.80.0-2.3
//: Average Growth Rates

break in series: 2019; data collection 2020 disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2021), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_lvhl13, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 21/06/2021).

Definition: the work intensity of a household is calculated as the ratio of the number of months actually worked by the household members of working age (18-59 years of age, excluding students aged 18 to 24) during a year and the total number of months that these people theoretically could have worked during the same year. If this ratio is lower than 20%, all household members belong to a household with a very low work intensity. Households that consist exclusively of children, students aged less than 25 and/or persons aged 60 or over are totally excluded from the calculation of the indicator. People living in a household with a very low work intensity belong to the target group of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

Work intensity data presented here are based on the EU survey Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), where employment data are always related to the year preceding the survey year. Statistics Belgium organises this EU-harmonised survey in Belgium and makes the results available, in particular to Eurostat. The data used here come from Eurostat, which publishes detailed and comparable results between EU Member States. Since these data are based on surveys, a margin of uncertainty should be taken into account. This margin of uncertainty increases as the indicator is calculated on smaller sub-populations. The confidence intervals for these data are available on request from Statistics Belgium.

Data for 2019 and 2020 are difficult to compare with each other and are not comparable with data up to 2018. From 2019 onwards, the survey methodology has been thoroughly reviewed for better accuracy. In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted data collection. Detailed information on these questions is available on the Statistics Belgium website (Statbel, 2021).

Goal: the share of people living in a household with a very low work intensity, and their number, must be reduced.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include the following targets: “Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard” (target 10.3) and “By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions” (target 1.2).

People living in a household with a very low work intensity belong to the target group for which the Europe 2020 Strategy (European Commission, 2010) sets a reduction target, i.e. people at risk of poverty or social exclusion. With regards to the monitoring of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the setting of possible reduction targets at EU level by 2030, it should be noted that in the beginning of 2019, the EC presented a reflection paper with three scenarios for a sustainable Europe by 2030 (European Commission, 2019). That document mentions the indicator concerned.

International comparison: in the EU27, this indicator rose from 9.9% in 2010 to 11.1% in 2014, then decreased to 8.5% in 2019. The average value of this indicator in the EU27 is 3.9 percentage points lower than that of Belgium. When Member States are divided into three groups, Belgium is part of the group with the poorest performance in 2019.

UN indicator: the selected indicator is related to indicator 1.2.2 - Proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions, since people living in a household with a very low work intensity are part of the population at risk of poverty or social exclusion, which is the indicator corresponding to the national definition of multidimensional poverty.

Sources

More information is available in French and Dutch.