Background variables


  • man

  • woman


    The questionnaire asked about the sex of the respondent.


    The classification of the questionnaire was retained.


    • 18 until 24 years
    • 25 until 39 years
    • 40 until 54 years
    • 55 until 64 years
    • 65+ years


    The year of birth was attained through the sample procedure of Statistics Belgium.


      The categories above give an important indication of the different phases in life. In the group of respondents 18 to 24 years old a significant part still goes to school and lives at home. The group of 25 to 39 year-olds includes mostly people who form a family and  build their career. The next phase (40 to 54 year-olds) is the phase where the family already has a solid form, as most people have a stable job and the children are grown up. In the age group of 55 to 64 the family pressure is somewhat less because the children have already left the house and only a small portion of this group is still participating in labour. The group above 65 are those who already stopped working. 

      Level of education

      • Low (no diploma)

      • Lower secondary

      • Higher secondary

      • Higher non-university

      • University


        All those who answered that they do not follow any education were asked about the highest level of completed education. 


        The level of education was recoded into 5 categories: (1) low (no diploma); (2) lower secondary) (3 or 4 years passed); (3) higher secondary (all years of secondary education passed); (4) higher non-university; (5) university.

        Occupational status (3 categories)

        • Not working

        • Part-time worker

        • Full-time worker


        In the questionnaire a question was asked about the current occupation status. In case people do paid work, they were asked if they do it part- or full-time. Self-employed are automatically registered as full-timers.


        The category ‘not working’ includes those who receive unemployment benefits, students, respondents looking for their first employment, those on sick or parental leave, those on holiday without loan, disabled persons, retired persons and those taking care of a household without salary. To the other two categories belong those who, based on the number of hours they work, are classified under part- and full-time workers according to the definition of federal statutes.

        Family situation

        • Living with parent(s)

        • Living alone

        • One-parent family

        • With partner, without children

        • With partner, with children


          In the household questionnaire respondents were asked to register all household members together with their relation to these people. The reference person is the person in the household who earns the biggest part of the household income.  


            The variable was recoded based on the relationships between the household members. The first category includes those still living with their parents. These respondents have no partner living with them and do not have children living in their household. Those in the second category live alone. The third category includes those living without a partner but with children. Those in the fourth category live with a partner but not with children. The fifth category includes those who live both with a partner and with children.

            Age youngest child

              • Living with parent(s)

              • No children or child older than 25

              • Youngest child younger than 7

              • Youngest child between 7 and 25


              In 1999 and 2005 the respondents were asked if they had children, if those children lived in their household and the year of birth of those children. In 2013 the relationships between the members in the household was asked along with their age. This way the variable could be coded the same way in all 3 years.


              The first category of this classification shows the children who are living with their parents. The second category includes those who do not have children younger than 25 or do not have children at all. The third category is formed by those whose youngest child is younger than 7, and in the fourth category we find the respondents whose youngest child is between 7 and 25 years old.

              Comment: No children can also mean that the respondent does have children but these do not live in the household.

              Degree of urbanization

              • Strongly urbanized (500 inhabitants/km²)
              • Moderately urbanized (between 100 and 499 inhabitants/km²)
              • Rural (100 inhabitants/km²)


              The postal code of the home town is known for all the respondents.


              The municipalities were recoded into three groups using a predefined typology. This typology is an official typology, created by Statistics Belgium.


              • Very good
              • Good
              • Mediocre to bad


              There was a question asking how the respondent rates his/her own health.


              Most respondents are very positive about their health. The most negative categories were combined into the category ‘Mediocre to bad’. Separately, the categories would have too few respondents for a useful interpretation.

              Time pressure

              • Low
              • Average
              • High


              Experienced time pressure was measured using a set of 14 statements. Respondents were asked to indicate the degree to which they agreed or disagreed with the statement.

              1. Too much is expected of me
              2. I never catch up with my work
              3. I never have time for myself
              4. There are not enough hours in the day for me
              5. I frequently have to cancel arrangements I have made
              6. I have to do more than I want to do
              7. I have no time to do the things I have to do
              8. More is expected from me than I can handle
              9. In my free time I often don't get around to doing the things I would like to do
              10. In my free time I have to take other people into account too often
              11. I find it difficult to relax in my free time
              12. I find it difficult to plan my leisure activities
              13. There are so many things I would like to do in my free time that I often have the feeling there is not enough time
              14. Too many of my leisure activities are fragmented


              These 14 statements were merged into a sum scale going from 0 to 100. The higher on the scale, the more time pressure people experience. The respondents are divided into 3 groups of about the same size. The first group experiences the least amount of time pressure, the last group experiences the largest amount of time pressure.