January 21, 2021

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The income of the richest Flemings is more than three times higher than …

The income of the richest Flemings is more than three times higher than ...

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The income of the 20 percent richest Flemish people is 3.3 times higher than the income of the 20 percent poorest. This is shown by figures from the Flanders statistics.

Since the European survey on which these figures are based has recently been radically renewed, a comparison with previous years cannot simply be made. It is assumed that the share of the income of the 20 percent richest (in relation to household income) compared to that of the 20 percent poorest has remained more or less stable since 2004.

In 2019, the rate in the Flemish region was therefore 3.3. In the Walloon region it was slightly higher at 3.6, and in the Brussels-Capital region the difference was even higher at 4.7. For the whole of Belgium this is a ratio of 3.6.

From a European point of view, this is limited. The average rate in the 28 EU countries was 5.1 in 2019. Along with the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Finland and the Netherlands, Belgium belongs to the group of EU countries with the lowest proportion. Income inequality is highest in Bulgaria, followed by Romania and Lithuania.

Household income increases by almost 1 percent a year

Figures from Statistics Flanders also show that the average household income in Flanders was € 2,317 per month in 2019, compared to € 2,059 per month in 2006. This corresponds to an increase of 12 percent in this period or almost 0.9 percent per year.

This is the monthly net equivalent of household income, i.e. all income of all household members, the deduction of direct taxes and social security contributions, the differences in the composition and size of households have been taken into account, and inflation.

It also appears that there were more people in higher income brackets in 2019 than in 2006. For example, almost 18 percent of the population had a household income of more than 3,000 euros per month in 2019, compared with 13 percent in 2006. At 5 percent, household income was more than 4,000 euros per month, in 2006 it was a little more than 3 percent. Last year, 40 percent of the population had a net equivalent household income of less than € 2,000 per month, compared with 53 percent in 2006.

Big difference between high and low educated people

There is a big difference between the household income of the highly educated and the less educated. In 2019, that of the highly qualified averaged 2,796 euros per month. This amounted to EUR 2,218 for the medium-skilled and EUR 1,782 for the low-skilled. In the past thirteen years, the household income of the low- and middle-skilled has increased by 11 percent and that of the highly skilled by 7 percent.

People with disabilities or long-term health problems have, on average, a lower household income. In 2019, they had € 2,015 a month, compared to € 2,462 for people with no health problems. Their household income increased more rapidly between 2006 and 2019 than that of people without problems. This corresponds to an increase of 17 and 14 percent respectively.

After all, people born outside the European Union seem to get by on a lower household income. They have an average of 1,796 euros per month. This amount was EUR 2,393 for people born in Belgium and EUR 2,119 for people born in an EU country other than Belgium. In addition, between 2006 and 2019, the increase in household income was lower for people born outside the EU (9%) than for people born in Belgium (15%). The increase in people born in the EU but outside Belgium was barely 5 percent.