Over-indebtedness of households

In 2018, 91,378 persons in Belgium had a collective debt settlement. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must be reduced. This objective will not be reached by continuing the trend since 2007. The over-indebtedness of households is therefore developing unfavourably.

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Over-indebtedness of households - Belgium

thousand persons with collective debt settlement

 20072010201320152016201720182018//20072018//2013
Belgium57.076.292.497.695.693.691.44.4-0.2
//: Average Growth Rates

National Bank of Belgium (2019), direct communication, 05/04/2019.

Over-indebtedness of households by sex - Belgium

thousand persons with collective debt settlement

 20072010201320152016201720182018//20072018//2013
females27.937.144.947.446.345.244.14.2-0.4
males29.039.147.550.249.248.447.34.5-0.1
//: Average Growth Rates

National Bank of Belgium (2019), direct communication, 05/04/2019.

Over-indebtedness of households by age - Belgium

thousand persons with collective debt settlement

 20072010201320152016201720182018//20072018//2013
18-241.42.32.11.91.71.51.4-0.2-8.0
25-3412.117.120.721.020.018.817.93.6-2.8
35-4418.122.226.427.827.326.625.93.3-0.4
45-5415.420.424.526.225.825.625.04.50.4
55-647.510.513.514.814.814.914.86.41.9
>642.43.65.15.96.06.26.39.04.1
//: Average Growth Rates

National Bank of Belgium (2019), direct communication, 05/04/2019.

Definition: people facing over-indebtedness or serious financial difficulties can turn to the legal procedure of collective debt settlement. Under this procedure, a debt mediator will establish a repayment plan for all outstanding debts and determine the amount necessary for the debtor to meet his or her current monthly expenses. This amount must be sufficient to enable him/her to live a decent life without falling below the level of the monthly 'social integration allowance'. In Belgium, the Central individual credit register (CCP) centralises data on the number of outstanding collective debt settlements. This indicator is expressed in thousands of persons and data are drawn from the National Bank of Belgium.

Goal: household over-indebtedness must be reduced.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include target 1.4: “By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance”.

The collective debt settlement procedure provides for a monthly amount necessary for the person concerned to meet regular expenses so that he or she can live a decent life without falling below the level of the 'social integration allowance'. Since the collective debt settlement procedure specifically targets people who may no longer be able to live a decent life as a result of over-indebtedness, it is considered that there is an implicit goal according to which the number of people in collective debt settlement must decrease, which is in line with the goal of the indicator Social integration allowance beneficiaries.

International comparison: due to law differences, there are no harmonised data at EU level on this type of measure for over-indebted people.

UN indicator: the selected indicator does not correspond to any monitoring indicator for the SDGs but is related to target 1.4 since people are vulnerable after a debt recovery procedure and could face more difficulties to have access to some services and types of ownership.

Sources

  • SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals: United Nations (2015), Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015, document A/RES/70/1.

  • Indicators: United Nations (2017), Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 6 July 2017, document A/RES/71/313.

  • UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/ (consulted on 26/04/2019).

  • Sustainable Development Goal indicators website: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/ (consulted on 26/04/2019).

More information is available in FR (French) and NL (Dutch).