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Metadata: Satisfaction with policy


Statistics Flanders Survey (SF survey), Statistics Flanders


Satisfaction with policy is monitored in the SF survey using the following question:

“In general, how satisfied are you with the policy of …?”
- your local government

- your provincial government

- the Flemish Government

- the federal (Belgian) Government

- the European Government

The respondent can answer by giving a score from 0 to 10, with 0 meaning very dissatisfied and 10 very satisfied. Respondents are also offered the ‘Don’t know/no answer’ response category for each question.

People who do not answer with a score from 0 to 10 and at the same time do not tick the category ‘Don’t know/no answer’ or people who give multiple answers at the same time, are not included in the calculation of the results. Local policy assessment in the spring 2023 edition involved 220 people (12%), provincial policy assessment 505 people (27%), Flemish policy assessment 265 people (14%), federal policy assessment 248 people (13%) and European policy assessment 336 people (18%).

The data is broken down by gender, age, household position and education level. The education level concerns the following groups:

  • low education: people without a diploma or at most a lower secondary education diploma
  • medium education: persons with at most a diploma of higher secondary education or with a diploma of post-secondary non-higher education
  • high education: persons with a (professional or academic) bachelor or master degree.

Based on the respondents’ place of residence, the data can be classified degree of urbanization. The degree of urbanization is divided into 6 groups of municipalities: major cities, central cities, urban periphery, smaller cities, transitional area and rural areas. This division is based on the Spatial Structure Plan for Flanders, in which, on the one hand, a few categories have been combined into ‘smaller cities’ and, on the other hand, the countryside has been divided into ‘transitional area’ and ‘rural areas’ on the basis of the Strategic Plan for Spatial Economy.

Remarks on quality

The data presented are estimates based on the results of the Statistics Flanders survey (SF survey). This is a survey conducted several times a year among residents of 18 years and older in the Flemish Region. The survey examines the views, beliefs and behaviour of the population with regard to social and policy-relevant themes.

For each survey, 6,000 people are randomly selected from the National Register. The SF survey is a so-called ‘mixed mode’ survey. This means that the respondents can fill in the questionnaire in different ways. The selected persons are first invited by letter to complete the survey online. The questionnaire is designed in such a way that it is easy to complete via a smartphone (mobile first design). Those who do not participate online receive a postal questionnaire. The combination of an online and paper questionnaire ensures that people who have no or insufficient digital access are also included in the survey.

The results presented here are based on the seventh edition of the SF survey, which was conducted in spring 2023 (between January and March 2023). Ultimately, 1,869 people took part in this edition. Compared to the initial sample of 6,000 people, this corresponds to a response rate of 31.2%. The questions on satisfaction with policy were previously included in the fourth and first editions of the SF survey. The fourth edition of the SF survey was conducted in spring 2022 (between May 2022 and July 2022). In this edition, 2,094 people participated, corresponding to a response rate of 34.9%. The first edition of the SF survey was conducted in spring 2021. In that survey, 2,625 persons participated. Compared to the initial sample of 6,000 people, this corresponds to a response rate of 43.8%.

Because of the unavoidable differences in the response to background characteristics, the final sample is weighted. This means that the underrepresented groups are given more weight, while the groups that are overrepresented are given less weight. In this way, the relationships between the different target groups in the final sample are restored and brought into line with the sampling frame. In this way a representative sample for the intended target population is obtained. The following 4 background characteristics are taken into account in the weighting of the SF survey: gender, age, nationality (Belgian/non-Belgian) and degree of urbanization.

A margin of uncertainty must be taken into account when interpreting the results of the SF survey. The smaller the sample on which the figures are calculated, the larger this margin of uncertainty is. Margins of uncertainty are represented in the figures by a 95% confidence interval. This means that if the measurement were repeated 100 times in the same population with different samples, the measured value would lie 95 times within the interval indicated.

In presenting the results, the evolution of the total score and the differences by background characteristics of the most recent year are depicted (by gender, age, household position, education level and degree of urbanisation). To assess whether there is a statistically significant difference between the total scores of different years or the scores of different groups within a given background characteristic (e.g. between men and women), we look at the confidence intervals of the measurement. When the confidence intervals do not overlap, we call it a significant difference.

Because of the changed method, the results of the SF survey are not comparable with the results of the Survey ‘Socio-cultural shift in Flanders’ (SCV-survey), which was conducted annually from 1996 to 2018 by Statistics Flanders. The SF survey is a ‘mixed mode’ survey (online and on paper), the SCV-survey was a face-to-face survey (with interviewers at home).


Statistics Flanders: SF survey

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