Income inequality: S80/S20

In 2017 (income year 2016), the S80/S20 income quintile share ratio in Belgium was 3.8. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, income inequality must not increase.

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Income quintile share ratio S80/S20 - Belgium and international comparison

//: Average Growth Rates

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2018), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_di11, (consulted on 06/09/2018).

Definition: the inter-quintile ratio of population income is an income inequality indicator. It is the ratio between the total equivalised net disposable income of the 20% of people having the highest income (S80) and the total equivalised net disposable income of the 20% of people having the lowest income (S20) The equivalised income takes the household size and composition into account according to the 'modified' OECD equivalence scale, whereby an adult has a factor of 1, every additional person aged 14 or more a factor of 0.5 and every additional person aged 13 or less a factor of 0.3. Income inequality data used here are based on the Statistics on Income and Living Conditions survey (EU-SILC) of the European Union. Income data are related to the income of the year preceding the survey year. Statbel 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 must be taken into account. The confidence intervals for these data are available on request from Statbel.

Goal: the inter-quintile income ratio must not increase.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include target 10.4: “Adopt policies, especially fiscal, wage and social protection policies, and progressively achieve greater equality”.

The Federal Long-Term Strategic Vision for Sustainable Development sets out that “Promoting the well-being of each individual, it will be essential that an inclusive society tackles the issue of poverty and social inequality” (introduction to the challenge “A society that promotes social cohesion”, Belgian Official Gazette, 08/10/2013).

Since a comparison with the other EU Member States shows that the inter-quintile income ratio is low and remained stable in Belgium, it can be considered that in order to contribute to meeting the challenge of the Federal Strategic Vision and the SDG target, the inter-quintile income ratio, as a measure for income inequality, must not increase.

International comparison: the inter-quintile income ratio within the EU28 is higher than in Belgium and increased from 4.9 in 2010 to 5.1 in 2016. There are large income inequality differences between EU28 Member States. This inequality increased in most of the southern Member States and in some Eastern Member States, while it remained rather stable in Belgium (EU, 2017). When Member States are divided into three groups, Belgium is part of the group with the best performance in 2016.

UN indicator: the selected indicator does not correspond to any monitoring indicator for the SDGs but is related to target 10.4. The inter-quintile income ratio is an income inequality indicator that is determined, among others, by fiscal, wage and social protection policies.


  • 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: (consulted on 23/10/2018).

  • Sustainable Development Goal indicators website: (consulted on 23/10/2018).

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