The Human Truth Foundation

Belgium (Kingdom of Belgium)

By Vexen Crabtree 2013


Comments:
FB, LJ

#belgium #charity #climate_change #economics #happiness #intelligence #morals #research #science #the_environment

Belgium
Kingdom of Belgium
StatusIndependent State
CapitalBrussels
Land Area 30 280km21
LocationEurope
Population10.8m (2011)2
Life Expectancy80.98yrs (2017)3
GNI$41 243 (2017)4
ISO3166-1 CodesBE, BEL, 565
Internet Domain.be6
CurrencyEuro (EUR)7
Telephone+328

1. Overview

#france #germany #netherlands

Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830; it was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. The country prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU. Tensions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led in recent years to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy. Its capital, Brussels, is home to numerous international organizations including the EU and NATO.

CIA's The World Factbook (2013)9

Book CoverFabulously historic and deliciously tasty, bursting with cutting-edge art yet never really showy, gently humorous and decidedly multilingual - Belgium is a little country full of big surprises [whose] self-deprecating people have quietly spent centuries producing some of Europe's finest art and architecture. Bilingual Brussels is the dynamic yet personable EU capital, but also sports what's arguably the world's most beautiful city square. Flat, Dutch-speaking Flanders has many other alluring medieval cities, all easily linked by regular train hops. In hilly, French-speaking Wallonia, the attractions are contrastingly rural - castle villages, outdoor activities and extensive cave systems. ... Belgians create a remarkable range of edible specialities including some of the planet's most mouth-watering chocolates. Jumbo wine-soaked mussels are served up with crispy, twice-fried frites (chips). And then of course there´s the beer. Brewing is an almost mystical art in Belgium, where some of the finest ales are still created in working monasteries to age-old recipes.

"The World" by Lonely Planet (2014)10

2. Belgium National and Social Development

#human_development

UN HDI (2016)11
Pos.Lower is better
Rank11
1Norway1
2Australia2
3Switzerland2
...
19Israel19
20Luxembourg20
21France21
22Belgium22
23Finland23
24Austria24
25Slovenia25
26Italy26
World Avg94.3
q=188.
Social & Moral
Development Index
12
Pos.Higher is better
Points12
1Denmark83.6
2Finland83.1
3Sweden82.6
...
7Germany80.6
8New Zealand80.4
9Iceland80.3
10Belgium80.3
11Ireland79.4
12Canada79.2
13UK79.0
14Austria78.7
World Avg55.4
q=198.

The United Nations produces an annual Human Development Report which includes the Human Development Index. The factors taken into account include life expectancy, education and schooling and Gross National Income (GNI) amongst many others..

The Social and Moral Development Index concentrates on moral issues and human rights, violence, public health, equality, tolerance, freedom and effectiveness in climate change mitigation and environmentalism, and on some technological issues. A country scores higher for achieving well in those areas, and for sustaining that achievement in the long term. Those countries towards the top of this index can truly said to be setting good examples and leading humankind onwards into a bright, humane, and free future. See: What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life.

3. Population and Demographics

#Belgium #birth_control #demographics #health #immigration #life_expectancy #longevity #overpopulation #population

Old-Age Dependency Ratio (2016)13
Pos.Lower is better
Per 10013
1Uganda04.3
2Mali04.5
3Chad04.7
...
166Bosnia & Herzegovina37.3
167S. Korea37.6
168Estonia37.9
169Belgium38.1
170Switzerland38.3
171Canada38.5
172Croatia39.7
173Malta39.9
World Avg18.3
q=185.
Emigrants (2010)14
Pos.
%14
1Dominica104.8%
2Palestine68.4%
3Samoa67.3%
...
120Egypt4.4%
121Germany4.3%
122S. Korea4.3%
123Belgium4.2%
124Syria4.2%
125Burundi4.2%
126Panama4.0%
127Norway3.8%
World Avg11.5%
q=192.

Fertility Rate (2013)15
Pos.2.0 is best15
1N. Korea2.00
2Brunei1.99
3St Vincent & Grenadines2.01
...
22Azerbaijan2.16
23Chile1.84
24Bangladesh2.16
25Belgium1.83
26Algeria2.17
27Oman2.17
28Argentina2.18
29El Salvador2.18
World Avg2.81
q=180.

The fertility rate is, in simple terms, the average amount of children that each woman has. The higher the figure, the quicker the population is growing, although, to calculate the rate you also need to take into account morbidity, i.e., the rate at which people die. If people live healthy and long lives and morbidity is low, then, 2.0 approximates to the replacement rate, which would keep the population stable. If all countries had such a fertility rate, population growth would end. The actual replacement rate in most developed countries is around 2.1.

Immigrants (2010)14
Pos.
%14
1Qatar86.5%
2Monaco71.6%
3UAE70.0%
...
33Belize15.0%
34Latvia15.0%
35Sweden14.1%
36Belgium13.7%
37Estonia13.6%
38USA13.5%
39Germany13.1%
40Djibouti13.0%
World Avg9.2%
q=192.
Life Expectancy (2015)16
Pos.Higher is better
Years16
1Hong Kong84.16
2Japan83.68
3Italy83.34
...
23Greece81.07
24Ireland81.05
25Finland81.01
26Belgium80.98
27UK80.85
28Malta80.73
29Slovenia80.58
30Denmark80.41
World Avg71.27
q=190.
Population (2012)17
Pos.
Population17
1China1.4b
2India1.3b
3USA315.8m
...
73Greece11.4m
74Rwanda11.3m
75Cuba11.2m
76Belgium10.8m
77Tunisia10.7m
78Portugal10.7m
79S. Sudan10.7m
80Czechia10.6m
World Avg36.0m
q=195.

Belgium's population is predicted to rise to 11.24 million by 2030. This rise is despite a low fertility rate, meaning, that this country is helping to alleviate problems with growing population in neighbouring countries by accepting immigrants, very likely as a requirement of maintaining an active workforce. This country has a fertility rate of 1.83. The fertility rate is, in simple terms, the average amount of children that each woman has. The higher the figure, the quicker the population is growing, although, to calculate the rate you also need to take into account morbidity, i.e., the rate at which people die. If people live healthy and long lives and morbidity is low, then, 2.0 approximates to the replacement rate, which would keep the population stable. If all countries had such a fertility rate, population growth would end. The actual replacement rate in most developed countries is around 2.1.

4. Human Rights, Equality and Freedom

#Belgium #equality #freedom #human_rights #politics #tolerance

When it comes to ensuring human rights and freedom, Belgium leads the world, setting excellent examples. Belgium does the second-best in terms of LGBT equality18. It comes in the best 20 in commentary in Human Rights Watch reports19, its Global Peace Index rating20, opposing gender inequality21, its nominal commitment to Human Rights22, fighting corruption23 and in supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms24. And finally, it does better than average for supporting press freedom25, eliminating modern slavery26, fighting anti-semitic opinions27 and in the year from which women could participate in democracy28 (but high for Europe). Human Rights Watch specifically states that Belgium's support of women's rights has been exemplary29.

For tables, charts and commentary, see:

5. Peace Versus Instability

#Belgium #extremism #human_development #peace #politics #religious_violence #terrorism

Peacekeeping and Security (2017)30
Pos.Lower is better
Rank30
1Samoa1
2S. Africa2
3Tunisia3
...
106Mozambique106
107Poland107
108Ukraine108
109Belgium109
110Panama110
111Equatorial Guinea111
112Botswana112
113Slovakia113
World Avg82.0
q=163.
Refugees and UN Treaties (2017)30
Pos.Lower is better
Rank30
1Austria1
2Germany2
3Netherlands3
...
10Switzerland10
11Canada11
12UK12
13Belgium13
14Italy14
15Spain15
16France16
17Cyprus17
World Avg82.0
q=163.

Global Peace Index (2012)20
Pos.Lower is better20
1Iceland1.11
2New Zealand1.24
3Denmark1.24
...
8Slovenia1.33
9Finland1.35
10Switzerland1.35
11Belgium1.38
12Qatar1.40
13Czechia1.40
14Sweden1.42
15Germany1.42
World Avg2.02
q=157.

"The 2012 Global Peace Index is the sixth edition of the world's leading study on global levels of peacefulness. The GPI ranks 158 nations using 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources, which gauge three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society; the extent of domestic or international conflict; and the degree of militarisation. By generating new information on the state of peace at the national and global level, the Institute for Economics and Peace hopes to make a valuable contribution to better understanding how civil society, researchers, policymakers, and government can create a more peaceful society"20. The most peaceable countries in the world are Iceland, New Zealand and Denmark20 and the worst are Somalia, Afghanistan and Sudan20.

Impact of Terrorism (2019)31
Pos.Lower is better
Score31
1Togo0.00
2Mongolia0.00
3Swaziland0.00
...
95Sweden3.45
96Sri Lanka3.57
97Canada3.59
98Belgium3.64
99Angola3.78
100Tunisia3.94
101Tajikistan3.95
102Uganda3.96
World Avg2.78
q=150.

6. Religion and Beliefs

#afterlife #belief #buddhism #christianity #god #heaven #hell #hinduism #islam #judaism #religion #universalism

Disbelief In God (2007)32
Pos.Higher is better
%32
1Vietnam81
2Japan65
3Sweden64
4Czechia61
5Estonia49
6Denmark48
7France44
8Belgium43
9Netherlands42
10Germany42
11UK42
12Cuba40
World Avg9.9
q=137.

Data from the Pew Forum, a professional polling outfit, states that in 2010 the religious makeup of this country was as follows in the table below33:

Christian64.2%
Muslim5.9%
Hindu0.1%
Buddhist0.2%
Folk Religion0.2%
Jew0.3%
Unaffiliated29%

By adding up the Pew Forum data for the major monotheistic religions we can see that these make up 70.4% of the population. Yet there are simply too many who disbelieve in God for this to be true (43%). This is due to the so-called 'Census Effect', whereby many put down a religion for cultural reasons rather than because it reflects their beliefs. In highly Christian countries, as many as half of those who say they're a Christian lack any connection to a Church, and do not hold Christian beliefs (such as believing in God!).

The CIA World Factbook has slightly different data, and states: Roman Catholic 75%, other (includes Protestant) 25%34.

The Afterlife: Ipsos-NA in 2011 gathered some statistics on Belgium35. Despite the large numbers of Christians, not many have traditional beliefs in the afterlife - just 4%. More people don't know what to believe (33%). Even more people believe that upon death, you simply cease to exist (35%). Also, 1% specifically believe in heaven but not in hell (which is nice - making them possible "universalists"). 8% believe in reincarnation.

In the second half of the 19th century Belgium began a period of secularism: the state endeavoured to create an atmosphere in which all citizens were treated equally no matter what religion they had (if any). "The radical liberals were able to implement a secularist policy with the help of an emerging socialist party. By law, they reduced the impact of the church in charitable work, in poor relief, and in allocating study grants. The cemeteries were laicized, and ultimately the state schools"36. This was possible because Belgium had embraced many early forms of human rights despite the embittered opposition of Catholic Christian organisations.

Links:

7. The Internet

#Belgium #internet #the_internet

Internet Users (2016)37
Pos.Higher is better37
1Iceland100%
2Faroe Islands99%
3Norway98%
...
19New Zealand89%
20USA89%
21Canada89%
22Belgium89%
23Czechia88%
24Germany88%
25Aruba88%
26Switzerland87%
World Avg48.1%
q=201.
IPv6 Uptake (2017)38
Pos.Higher is better
Ratio38
1Belgium55.4
2Germany41.8
3Switzerland35.1
4USA35.0
5Greece33.5
6Luxembourg32.4
7India26.8
8Portugal26.6
9Ireland26.1
10UK24.7
11Japan22.1
12France18.8
World Avg3.82
q=176.

Internet access has become an essential research tool. It facilitates an endless list of life improvements, from the ability to network and socialize without constraint, to access to a seemingly infinite repository of technical and procedural information on pretty much any task. The universal availability of data has sped up industrial development and personal learning at the national and personal level. Individuals can read any topic they wish regardless of the locality of expert teachers, and, entire nations can develop their technology and understanding of the world simply because they are now exposed to advanced societies and moral discourses online. Like every communications medium, the Internet has issues and causes a small range of problems, but these are insignificant compared to the advantages of having an online populace.

8. Public Health Issues

#alcohol #Belgium #genetics #health #mental_health #obesity #organ_donation #public_health #smoking #sociology #suicide #UK

Belgium does relatively well in encouraging good health, compared to many other countries. Belgium comes in the best 20 in terms of number of organ donors39 (one of the highest in Europe), its food aid and health contributions and WHO compliance30 and in its immunizations take-up40. It does better than average in its adolescent birth rate21. Belgium does not succeed in everything, however. It does worse than average in the prevalence of overweight adults41. And finally, it falls into the worst 20 for its suicide rate42, its smoking rate43 and in its alcohol consumption rate44. The number of overweight adults has increased by 14% during the past 40 years.

Alcohol Consumption (2016)44
Pos.Lower is better
Per Capita44
1Bangladesh0.0
2Kuwait0.0
3Libya0.0
...
173Poland11.6
174Russia11.7
175Seychelles12.0
176Belgium12.1
177Portugal12.3
178Slovenia12.6
179France12.6
180Romania12.7
World Avg6.2
q=189.

There is nothing wrong with drinking modest and sensible amounts of alcohol but fitness, physical health, mental health and long-term health all suffer as a result of medium- or heavy- drinking45 and the health risks to the baby when pregnant mothers drink46 are well-known. Aside from the effects on the individual, alcohol misuse impacts on entire economies47 via increased health service costs, policing costs and lost days' work. Worldwide, alcohol misuse is "among the top five risk factors for disease, disability and death" and is a "cause of more than 200 disease and injury conditions in individuals, most notably alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis, cancers and injuries"48. "In 2012... 5.9% of all global deaths, were attributable to alcohol consumption"49. Deaths from chronic alcohol misuse have been rising for decades, and so has violence, abuse, vandalism and crime all associated with alcohol over-use. The aggression and crime associated with alcohol in some Western countries infringes on the human rights of those who want nothing to do with such behaviour. Many of the social effects of alcohol are psychological and cultural; i.e., people don't have to behave criminally or destructively whilst drunk - it is a culturally learned behaviour. Experiments have shown that behaviour can be controlled: Those who do not wish to behave badly whilst drunk, will not do so.

Organ Donors (At Death) (2017)39
Pos.Higher is better
pmp39
1Spain46.9050
2Portugal34.0150
3Belgium33.6250
4Croatia33.0050
5USA31.9651
6Malta30.00
7Italy28.50
8France26.84
9Czechia25.51
10Austria24.7050
11UK23.0552
12Belarus22.10
World Avg13.03
q=70.
Food Aid, Health Contributions & WHO Compliance (2017)30
Pos.Lower is better
Rank30
1Sweden1
2Ireland2
3Denmark3
...
13Australia13
14UAE14
15Saudi Arabia15
16Belgium16
17New Zealand17
18Jordan18
19S. Korea19
20Kuwait20
World Avg82.0
q=163.

Overweight Adults (2016)41
Pos.Lower is better
%41
1Vietnam18.3
2India19.7
3Bangladesh20.0
...
134Montenegro59.4
135Belarus59.4
136France59.5
137Belgium59.5
138Lithuania59.6
139Croatia59.6
140El Salvador59.9
141Dominica60.3
World Avg49.0
q=191.

About one third of the global population is overweight or obese53. Most Western countries are facing an obesity epidemic. Our cultures are having to change to compensate for widespread ill-health. It is costing our health systems a massive amount of money, and is having negative effects on national economies. The situation has persisted for a suitable length of time for our very perceptions to change; opinions on "normal weights" for people and "average sizes" for clothes has shot up54. Over 2 in 3 adults in the UK are overweight54 and this costs the NHS £5.1 billion per year55 and "costs Britain's economy £47bn a year; more than war, terrorism or armed violence"56. We are forgetting how to be healthy.

The causes are not genetic. Most people who say obesity "runs in their family" are wrong. The rate of increase in obesity is many, many times too fast to be accounted for by a change in inherited genes57. Our culture and lifestyle choices are to blame. The causes of the modern obesity epidemic are processed foods, low levels of physical exercise, over-indulgence, poor choices in food products, poor knowledge of nutrition. Most of this is made much worse by well-funded advertising campaigns by food manufacturers selling cheaper mass-produced food. Even some so-called "health foods" contain well over recommended limits of fat, salt and sugar58.

Smoking Rates (2014)43
Pos.Lower is better43
1Guinea 15
2Solomon Islands 26
3Kiribati 28
...
173Bosnia & Herzegovina2 233
174China2 250
175Luxembourg2 284
176Belgium2 353
177Slovenia2 637
178Russia2 690
179Macedonia2 732
180Lebanon3 023
World Avg 819
q=182.
Suicide Rate (2013)42
Pos.Lower is better
Per 100k42
1Haiti0
2Grenada0
3Egypt0.1
...
77Estonia37.9
78Serbia38.1
79Finland39
80Belgium39.1
81Slovenia44
82Ukraine44.8
83Latvia48.2
84Japan49.4
World Avg20.93
q=91.

9. Children's Health

#Belgium #health #parenting #population #vaccines

Adolescent Birth Rate (2015)21
Pos.Lower is better
Per 100021
1N. Korea0.5
2S. Korea1.6
3Switzerland2.9
...
22China7.3
23Greece7.5
24Oman8.1
25Belgium8.2
26Spain8.4
27Bosnia & Herzegovina8.6
28Saudi Arabia8.8
29France8.9
World Avg47.9
q=185.
Infant Immunizations 2011-2015 (2015)40
Pos.Higher is better
Avg %40
1Hungary99.0
2China99.0
3Uzbekistan98.9
...
16Oman98.0
17Antigua & Barbuda98.0
18Cuba97.9
19Belgium97.8
20Thailand97.8
21Mauritius97.6
22Fiji97.6
23Kuwait97.5
World Avg88.3
q=194.

10. More Charts and Comparisons to Other Countries

Personal Charitability
(World Position, 2013-2016)
59
Pos.Lower is better59
1Myanmar (Burma)1.25
2USA1.5
3New Zealand3.5
...
54Malawi45.25
55Israel45.25
56Taiwan46
57Belgium47.25
58Chile47.25
59Saudi Arabia48
60Iraq50.25
q=156.
Intellectual Endeavours (2017)30
Pos.Lower is better
Rank30
1Ukraine1
2Czechia2
3Hungary3
4Denmark4
5UK5
6Austria6
7Finland7
8Netherlands8
9Belgium9
10Slovenia10
11Switzerland11
q=163.
Creativity and Culture (2017)30
Pos.Lower is better
Rank30
1Belgium1
2Netherlands2
3Estonia3
4Switzerland4
5Sweden5
6Denmark6
7Austria7
8Ireland8
9Czechia9
10Luxembourg10
11UK11
q=163.
Peacekeeping and Security (2017)30
Pos.Lower is better
Rank30
1Samoa1
2S. Africa2
3Tunisia3
...
106Mozambique106
107Poland107
108Ukraine108
109Belgium109
110Panama110
111Equatorial Guinea111
112Botswana112
q=163.
Refugees and UN Treaties (2017)30
Pos.Lower is better
Rank30
1Austria1
2Germany2
3Netherlands3
...
10Switzerland10
11Canada11
12UK12
13Belgium13
14Italy14
15Spain15
16France16
q=163.
Open Trading, Aid and Development (2017)30
Pos.Lower is better
Rank30
1Ireland1
2Denmark2
3Sweden3
4Netherlands4
5Switzerland5
6Serbia6
7Belgium7
8Norway8
9Finland9
10Croatia10
11Georgia11
q=163.
Research and Development (2016)
Pos.Higher is better
% RDP PPP
1S. Korea4.2960
2Israel4.1160
3Japan3.5860
...
9Switzerland2.9661
10Germany2.8460
11USA2.7462
12Belgium2.4660
13Slovenia2.3960
14France2.2660
15Australia2.2563
16Singapore2.0062
q=126.
Life Satisfaction (2011)64
Pos.Higher is better64
1Denmark7.8
2Norway7.6
3Netherlands7.6
...
17USA7.1
18France7.0
19Ireland7.0
20Belgium6.9
21UK6.9
22Oman6.9
23Iceland6.9
24S. Korea6.9
q=150.
Gross National Income Per-Capita (2011)16
Pos.Higher is better
PPP $16
1Qatar$129 916
2Singapore$78 162
3Kuwait$76 075
...
20Austria$43 609
21Australia$42 822
22Canada$42 582
23Belgium$41 243
24Finland$38 868
25France$38 085
26UK$37 931
27Japan$37 268
q=193.
Environmental Performance (2018)65
Pos.Higher is better65
1Switzerland87.4
2France84.0
3Denmark81.6
...
12Spain78.4
13Germany78.4
14Norway77.5
15Belgium77.4
16Italy77.0
17New Zealand76.0
18Netherlands75.5
19Israel75.0
q=180.
IQ (2006)66
Pos.Higher is better66
1Hong Kong108
2Singapore108
3S. Korea106
...
18Finland99
19Estonia99
20Sweden99
21Belgium99
22Canada99
23Andorra98
24Czechia98
25Spain98
q=138.