Inactive population due to caring responsibilities (i28)

In 2021, 20.4% of the non-working population aged 15 to 64 in Belgium was not working because of family responsibilities. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must decrease. Between 2001 and 2020, the trend is undetermined (assessment of November 2021).

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Inactive population due to caring responsibilities - Belgium and international comparison

percentage of the aged 15-64 outside of the workforce

 1992199520002005201020152016202020212021//19922021//2016
Belgium11.98.6--14.116.112.312.912.320.41.99.6
EU27------20.720.819.719.915.419.6---0.3
//: Average Growth Rates

break in time series: BE in 2001, 2005, 2017 and 2021; EU in 2005 and 2021

Statbel; Eurostat (2022), Inactive population not seeking employment by sex, age and main reason [lfsa_igar], https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 15/06/2022).

Inactive population due to caring responsibilities, by sex - Belgium

percentage of the aged 15-64 outside of the workforce

 1992199520002005201020152016202020212021//19922021//2016
females21.315.6--19.819.717.317.416.325.80.78.2
males------6.211.16.48.07.414.4--12.5
//: Average Growth Rates

break in time series: BE in 2001, 2005, 2017 and 2021; EU in 2005 and 2022 Due to small numbers, data for males are less reliable.

Statbel; Eurostat (2022), Inactive population not seeking employment by sex, age and main reason [lfsa_igar], https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 15/06/2022).

Inactive population due to caring responsibilities, by age - Belgium

percentage of population outside of the workforce

 1992199520002005201020152016202020212021//19922021//2016
15-242.6------7.34.24.55.78.34.113.0
25-4930.424.1--25.023.919.319.817.431.50.19.7
50-648.07.4----16.37.910.811.524.94.018.2
//: Average Growth Rates

break in time series: BE in 2001, 2005, 2017 and 2021; EU in 2005 and 2023 Due to small numbers, data for age groups 15-24 and 50-64 are less reliable.

Statbel; Eurostat (2022), Inactive population not seeking employment by sex, age and main reason [lfsa_igar], https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 15/06/2022).

Definition: the share of the inactive population not working because of family responsibilities is the proportion of the inactive population aged between 15 and 64 years that wants to work but is not looking for work because it is caring for children or dependent persons or because of other family or personal reasons. The data come from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). Statistics Belgium organises this EU-harmonised survey in Belgium and makes the results available, in particular to Eurostat. The survey methodology was reviewed in 2017. Comparisons of the 2017 data with previous years should be done with caution. 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 must be taken into account. The confidence intervals for these data are available on request from Statistics Belgium.

Goal: the share of the inactive population due to caring responsibilities must decrease.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include target 5.4: "recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies, and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate".

International comparison: the share of the inactive population due to caring responsibilities is higher in the EU27 than in Belgium throughout the relevant period, except for the last year. This share remained fairly stable between 2002 (22.9%) and 2021 (19.6%) in the EU27. When Member States are divided into three groups, Belgium is part of the group with average performance and performs worse than the European average in 2021. In that year, the Netherlands ranked first with 8.9% and Malta last with 59.6%.

UN indicator: the selected indicator is related to indicator 5.4.1 - Proportion of time spent on unpaid domestic and care work, by sex, age and location. It measures the time invested in unpaid caring work, showing gender disparities in this area.

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 24/09/2020).

  • Sustainable Development Goal indicators website: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/ (consulted on 24/09/2020).

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