Meeting with friends and family (i73)

  •  17/10/2022
  • objective  
  •  assessment 

In 2018, 68.2% of the Belgian population aged 15 and over reported to meet at least once a week friends, relatives or colleagues. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must not decrease. Between 2002 and 2018, the trend is favourable (assessment of November 2021).

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Meeting with friends and family - Belgium and international comparison

at least once a week

percentage of population aged 15 years and over

 2002201020122014201620182018//20022018//2012
Belgium67.770.765.268.067.868.20.00.8
Germany59.960.258.055.459.559.5-0.10.4
France66.665.367.265.269.867.70.10.1
Netherlands71.975.276.773.979.074.90.3-0.4
//: Average Growth Rates

ESS (2020), Dataset European Social Survey, http://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/ (consulted on 29/09/2020); calculations FPB.

Meeting with friends and family by seks - Belgium

at least once a week

percentage of population aged 15 years and over

 2002201020122014201620182018//20022018//2012
females67.870.266.367.869.068.50.10.5
males67.671.363.968.266.667.90.01.0
//: Average Growth Rates

ESS (2020), Dataset European Social Survey, http://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/ (consulted on 29/09/2020); calculations FPB.

Meeting with friends and family by income - Belgium

at least once a week

percentage of population aged 15 years and over

 201020122014201620182018//2012
quintile 165.266.266.864.968.40.5
quintile 271.264.064.962.266.80.7
quintile 367.963.665.862.463.60.0
quintile 470.067.767.173.270.00.6
quintile 574.564.566.077.572.62.0
//: Average Growth Rates

ESS (2020), Dataset European Social Survey, http://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/ (consulted on 29/09/2020); calculations FPB.

Definition: social contacts are defined by the result of the European Social Survey (ESS) and more particularly by the answer "at least once a week" to the question of how often "you meet friends, family or colleagues" for social reasons (i.e. neither for work nor for pure obligation, but because the survey respondents choose to meet friends, family or colleagues; this corresponds to the original European questionnaire in English and the questionnaire in Dutch. In the French-speaking questionnaire it is only mentioned "outside work"). This question was systematically asked in the nine biennial SSE surveys. The indicator is calculated by the FPB on the basis of data from ESS. Since these data are collected from surveys, a margin of uncertainty must be considered. The confidence intervals for these data are available on request.

Objective: The proportion of people reporting social contacts at least once a week cannot decrease.

The sustainable development goals or SDSs adopted by the United Nations in 2015 include the following objective: "Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels" (objective 16). Social support, or having family and friends, is an important contribution to peaceful and open societies.

The Federal Long-Term Strategic Vision for Sustainable Development includes as a first challenge “A society that promotes social cohesion” (Belgian Official Gazette, 08/10/2013). To contribute to this social cohesion it is considered that there is an implicit objective that the proportion of respondents reporting having social contacts at least once a week, as a measure of social capital, cannot decrease.

International comparison: compared to neighbouring countries, more people in Belgium (68.2%) report having social contacts at least once a week than in Germany (59.5%), but less than in the Netherlands (74.9%). In France (67.7%) an equivalent number of people report having social contacts at least once a week. These proportions are broadly the same over the nine editions of the SSE. Given the subjective nature of this indicator, comparisons between countries should be interpreted with caution.

UN indicator: the selected indicator does not correspond to any monitoring indicator for the SDGs but is related to objective 16. Social support, or having family and friends, is an important contribution to peaceful and open societies.

Sources

More information is available in French and Dutch.