Flemish inhabitants of foreign origin participate less in society, study shows
People of foreign origin participate less in society than people of Belgian origin, according to a new report by Statistics Flanders, the information network of the Flemish government. The differences occur in the field of work, but also on a cultural and political level. In addition, people of foreign origin are more often confronted with health problems, substandard housing and poverty. The “employment gap” between people of foreign and Belgian origin does show a downward trend, however.
Almost a quarter of Flanders’ inhabitants are of foreign origin. This means that they or at least one of their parents were born abroad. The majority of these people are Dutch, followed by Moroccans, Turks, Italians and Poles. Almost 47 percent of them were born in Belgium.
Employment rates have increased between 2010 and 2020 by 9 percent for people from outside the EU, compared to 5 percent for people of Belgian origin.
The report states that the employment rate among people of foreign origin is lower than that of people with Belgian origins. For people born outside the EU the employment rate is 60 percent, whereas for Belgians the rate is 77 percent. However, employment rates have increased between 2010 and 2020 by 9 percent for people from outside the EU, compared to 5 percent for people of Belgian origin. The employment gap between the two groups has thus decreased in recent years.
Furthermore, it appears that people of a non-European background have a higher chance of ending up in poverty. Their wages are on average 8.000 euros lower than those of people with a Belgian background. Of the children born in poverty recent years, 69% in Flanders have a foreign mother.
Of the children born in poverty recent years, 69% in Flanders have a foreign mother.
This is reflected at various levels. For example, almost a quarter of inhabitants with a non-EU background say they live in poor quality housing. Four percent say they postpone medical care for financial reasons. They are also less likely to be members of an association and participate in cultural or political activities.
© BELGA PHOTO DAVID STOCKMAN