64,336 births in 2018
In 2018, 64,336 births were registered to women with an official place of residence in the Flemish Region. This is 167 fewer births than in 2017 (-0.3%) and 5,743 fewer than in the peak year 2010 (-8.2%).
There have been more births than deaths in recent years and this has resulted in a positive natural balance. For 2018, the natural growth amounted to +939 units (= 64,336 births - 63,397 deaths).
More newborn boys than girls
Broken down by gender (according to the registration in the legally resident population), 32,736 boys and 31,600 girls were born in the Flemish Region in 2018. This is equal to a ratio of 50.9% boys and 49.1% girls. There are slightly more boys every year.
More than 1 in 10 newborns do not have Belgian nationality
More than 1 in 10 newborns (13%) to mothers living in the Flemish Region had in 2018 a foreign (non-Belgian) nationality. In the Brussels-Capital Region, this figure is much higher (35%); it is somewhat lower in the Walloon Region (9%).
The Brussels-Capital Region in particular has relatively many newborns with the nationality of a country outside the European Union (1 in 4).
Half of births within marriage
Half of the births to mothers with official residence in the Flemish Region occurred outside marriage in 2016. At the turn of the century, this was less than a quarter (22%).
There has been a marked increase in births to unmarried cohabiting couples. In 1 in 10 births, the mother does not have a cohabiting partner.
Decrease in the crude birth rate
High crude birth rates in Flemish central cities
8 of the 13 central cities have a crude birth rate which is higher than the rate for the Flemish Region (9.9 births per 1,000 inhabitants) for the 2016-2018 period. Antwerp, Mechelen and Ghent lead the central cities; Hasselt, Ostend and Bruges follow.
Relatively high values are sometimes also recorded in other Flemish cities and municipalities, with Borsbeek, Vilvoorde and Drogenbos at the top of the ranking. Low rates can mainly be found in seaside towns, with De Haan, Knokke-Heist and Koksijde at the bottom of the list.
The crude birth rate partially reflects the age structure of the population, with typically low values in an ageing population.
Flemish crude birth rate in line with European average
The crude birth rate in 2017 for the Flemish Region (9.9 births per 1,000 inhabitants) is equal to the average for the countries of the European Union (EU28).
Within the European Union, Belgium also takes middle position. High rates can be found in Ireland (12.9), France and Sweden; low values prevail mainly in the southern Member States, with Italy at the bottom of the list (7.6).
Births: only refers to the number of live births to women among the legally resident population with an official place of residence (main domicile) in the Flemish Region. The same criteria apply to the term ’newborns’. Births to women who are registered in the waiting register (such as for asylum seekers) are not included, and neither are births to women staying illegally in the country.
Natural balance: The number of births minus the number of deaths, often expressed per 100 inhabitants or per 1,000 inhabitants (average population = arithmetical average of the population on 1 January and 31 December of the year).
Crude birth rate: sets the number of births against the average population of the defined territory. It is generally expressed per 1,000 inhabitants. The ‘crude’ (or 'gross') birth rate is used because the age distribution of the (female) population is not taken into account.
Average population: the average of the population as measured at the beginning (1 January) and at the end of the year (31 December of the current year or 1 January of the following year).
Natural growth: the balance of births and deaths (positive or negative) for a given territory.
Legally resident population: this includes persons registered in an official population register of a Belgian city or municipality (where their legal main domicile is located), but not persons registered in a waiting register (e.g. waiting register for asylum seekers).