The social security system is financed in
half by employers, while employees and the state account
for a quarter each. The system is extensive but suffers
from severe underfunding.
Social insurance includes old-age and widow's
pension, sickness, parental and unemployment insurance,
holiday allowance and insurance in the event of an
accident at work and occupational injuries. Widows,
pensioners and the disabled have free health care.
Employees have four weeks of vacation.
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Belgium, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Due to the proportion of the elderly increasing and
the number of employed persons being low, the payments
have long exceeded the fees. The cuts in government
spending during the 1990s greatly exceeded social
support systems, and yet further changes were needed to
keep spending under control.
During the 2000s, several laws were passed that
triggered loud protests from the Catholic Church and the
Christian Democrats. As other countries in the world,
after the Netherlands, Belgium legalized active
euthanasia in 2002. Twelve years later, Belgium became
the first in the world to allow euthanasia even for
severely ill children, with no lower age limit.
Since 2003, gay couples can enter into marriage and
since 2006 they also have the right to adopt children.
Religion plays a pretty minor role in most Belgians'
lives. Nearly one in three residents call themselves
non-religious, though many traditionally reside in the
Catholic Church. About a quarter of those who get
married do so in the church or equivalent, and just over
half of the children are baptized according to religious
The woman's position is quite strong and society is
generally quite equal, although gender discrimination
and wage differences still exist. About a third of women
work part-time. Women do not usually change their last
names when they get married. After the 2014 elections,
women hold almost half of all seats in the federal
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
3 per 1000 births (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
100.0 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
99.5 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
10.5 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
4 149 US dollars (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
38 percent (2018)
Nationalists strong in local elections
The Flanders nationalists have great successes in the municipal elections.
The right-wing nationalist N-VA wins in three out of five provinces in Flanders,
and in Antwerp the party's leader Bart De Wever becomes new mayor. At the same
time, the Flemish xenophobic VB is going back. N-VA's demand for more
self-government in Flanders, especially with regard to taxes, is gaining more
weight. In French-speaking Wallonia, a split of Belgium is feared.
Angry when the serial killer's wife is released
Michelle Martin, ex-wife and aide to the serial killer Marc Dutroux (see
Modern History), leaves prison after 16 years and goes to the monastery. The
court's decision provokes strong reactions in the country.
Electoral change should resolve political crisis
Parliament votes in favor of a constitutional amendment that divides the
Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde (BHV) constituency into two: the bilingual Brussels
becomes a new constituency, while the Flemish Halle-Vilvoorde together with
Leuven form the constituency of Flemish Brabant (which coincides with the
province of Flemish Brabant, which surrounds Brussels). BHV's composition has
been a hot topic of contention for several years (see also Political system).
There are now only six municipalities in Flanders - outside of Brussels - where
residents are still allowed to vote on French-speaking parties.