The FPB’s studies cover 11 main themes: Energy, Environmental economic accounts and analyses, International economy, Labour market, Macroeconomic forecasts and analyses, Public finances, Sectoral accounts and analyses, Social protection, demography and prospective studies, Structural studies, Sustainable development, Transport.
Covid has affected Belgium's population growth in 2020, but to a lesser extent than anticipated in last year's Outlook. In particular, international migration has been little hit by international mobility restrictions. Life expectancy is set to rise again as from 2021. Covid is not expected to impact long-term population growth.
Demography – principally, population and households – plays a role in numerous themes examined by the FPB.
The Population projections are a key parameter for studying the impact of ageing, an issue of growing concern for policymakers in Belgium and other European countries.
Population ageing, or the growing ratio of elderly people in the population, is primarily the result of both a decreasing fertility rate and the sustained prolongation of life expectancy. This evolution takes its toll on the public budget. The changes in the demographic structure lead to a decrease in the working-age population likely to pay social contributions and taxes on the one hand, and increase the number of elderly people who receive public pensions and a larger amount of health care on the other hand.
The essential parameters determining population should therefore be studied carefully: fertility, probability of death and decision to migrate within the country, to emigrate or to immigrate.
In addition to being one of the components of the demographic model, the projection of mortality rates is necessary because of the law of 28 April 2003 on supplementary pensions. The law provides that the FSMA bases its actualisation rules for converting capital to interest on the FPB’s prospective mortality tables.
Studying the population from the perspective of ‘households’ is also very useful for various social aspects (e.g. increase in single-parent families – the parent often being a single woman – households composed of an older person who might be confronted with poverty or insufficient support) and economic aspects (impact on housing, transport, mobility, consumption, taxation, etc.) of life. Within that framework and in line with the population projects, the FPB also draws up household projections.
For demographic projections, three models are used: