Over 1 in 5 Belgians Cannot Afford One-Week Long Holidays

Nearly 2.5 million Belgians, 21.6 per cent of the total population, cannot afford a week’s holiday, as stated by Statbel, the Belgian statistical office.

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This issue affects nearly a third of the population in Brussels and the Walloon Region, reports.

Statbel surveyed over 6,400 households in 2023, conducting interviews about their income and living conditions.

The first results of the survey revealed that the most affected category of the population are unemployed people, tenants, members of single-parent families, and low-skilled workers.

About one in five Belgians did not have the budget to pay for a one-week holiday in 2023. In the Brussels-Capital Region (36.4 per cent) and the Walloon Region (31.5 per cent), this concerns about a third of the population,  and 13.5 per cent in the Flemish Region.


In addition to a week’s holiday, the survey also revealed that about 2.5 million Belgians cannot afford to cover an unexpected expense of €1,300.

Once again, this issue affects most residents of Brussels and Walloon and less in the Flemish region.

About half of tenants (51.9 per cent), the unemployed (50.5 per cent), and members of single-parent families (49.8 per cent) do not have this financial buffer.


10.4% of the Belgian Population Materially & Socially Deprived in 2023

Among other things, the survey showed that 14.6 per cent of Belgians are unable to replace damaged furniture, 12.4 per cent can’t regularly engage in leisure activities, and 11.5 per cent cannot afford to spend a small amount on themselves each week.

Overall, 10.4 per cent of the Belgian population was materially and socially deprived (MSD), whereas 6.1 per cent was severely materially and socially deprived (SMSD) in 2023.

Statbel’s indicator, which contains 13 material and social cost items, categorises individuals in an MSD situation if they can’t afford five of those aspects and in an SMSD situation if they can’t afford seven aspects.

Statbel recently also revealed that inflation in Belgium increased from 1.35 per cent to 1.75 per cent last month.

During that period, prices increased for items like dairy products, domestic services, bread, cereals, and alcoholic beverages. On the other hand, natural gas, motor fuels, plane tickets, electricity, and hotel rooms contributed to a decrease in the overall index.