Household types

  • More households, smaller size

    At the beginning of 2019, 6.51 million inhabitants of the Flemish Region lived in 2.81 million private households. On average, a private household in 2019 consisted of 2.31 persons. 

     

    Since 2000, the number of private households has increased faster than the number of inhabitants. The average size of a private household has also decreased. In 2000, a private household consisted of 2.45 persons on average. 

  • Single-person households most common household type

    In 2019, the 3 most common private households were: single-person households  (32%), married couples without children living at home (23%) and married couples with 1 or more children living at home (22%).  

     

    Between 2000 and 2019, the percentage of households of married couples with 1 or more children living at home dropped from 34% to 22%. The percentage of households of unmarried couples with 1 or more children living at home increased in this period by 7%. The percentage of single-person households also increased, and since 2006 this has been the most common household type. The percentage of single-parent households has hardly changed in recent years. 

  • In younger households, slightly more unmarried couples living together with child(ren) than without children

    In 2019, the younger households (in which the reference person is younger than 60) was largely composed of married couples with 1 or more children living at home (31%) and single-person households (26%).  

     

    Married couples make up 4 out of 10 younger households; unmarried couples account for 2 out of 10 younger households. 

     

    Among the younger unmarried couples there were more with children living at home than without children living at home. More than 1 in 10 of the younger households were single-parent households. 

     

    Among the older households (households in which the reference person is 60 or older), married couples without children living at home (43%) and single-person households (40%) were most common in 2019.  

     

    Half of the older households were married couples. 4% were unmarried couples and 5% were single-parent households. 

  • Married couples and married parents remain most common households

    In 2019, nearly 6 out of 10 private households in the Flemish Region were partners living together (58%).  

     

    Within the households of partners living together, 3 out of 4 couples were married. There were about as many married couples with children living at home as without children living at home. Among the unmarried couples, a slight majority had children living at home. 

     

    There were 1 or more children (families) in almost 4 out of 10 private households (37%).  

     

    The parents (or parent and step-parent) were married in nearly 6 out of 10 families. Single-parent households were slightly more common than unmarried couples with child(ren). 

  • More than 4 out of 10 families with 1 child living at home

    In 2019, more than 4 out of 10 families (44%) had 1 child. This means that there was already 1 child living at home or that only 1 child still lived with its parent(s). On average, a family had 1.79 children.   

     

    More than 6 out of 10 single-parent families had 1 child living at home. On average, 1.57 children lived with a single mother; 1.42 children lived with a single father.  

    In 4 out of 10 cases, both married and unmarried couples had 2 children living with them. Unmarried couples more often had 1 living-in child ; married couples more often had 3 or more children living at home. On average, married couples lived with 1.90 children and unmarried couples with 1.73 children. 

  • More single-person households in coastal municipalities and student cities

    In 2019, nearly 1 in 3 private households in the Flemish Region (32%) were single-person households. 

     

    The percentage of private households with persons living alone varied per municipality between 21% and 48%. The highest percentages were found in the coastal municipalities and in the student cities. This variation is partly due to the age of the inhabitants. 

  • More married couples in the Flemish Region than in other regions

    At the start of 2019, there were relatively more married couples without living-in children in the Flemish Region than in the other regions. The Flemish Region also had the highest percentage of married couples with children living at home. 

    Relatively speaking, the Flemish Region had fewer single-person households than the other regions. The percentage of single-parent households was also lowest there. 

     

    At the start of 2019, the Walloon Region showed a somewhat higher percentage of unmarried couples with children living at home. The Brussels-Capital Region had the highest percentage of single-person households. 

  • Large European variation in single-person households

    In 2017 the Flemish Region had the same level of single-person households as the group of EU-countries with a low share of single-person households. In the Walloon Region, that share was higher and on par with the EU-average. The Brussels-Capital Region, along with the Scandinavian countries and Germany, belonged to the groups with the highest percentage of single-person households. 

Sources

Statistics Flanders: Structure of private households  
Statbel: Population

Definitions

Reference person of the household: the person who represents the household in contacts with the authorities. 

 

Private households: all households except the collective households (religious communities, nursing homes, orphanages, student and workers' homes, hospitals and prisons). 

Publication date

10 September 2019

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