Fertility

  • Average 1.62 children per woman

    Some 64,500 births were registered to women with an (official) place of residence in the Flemish Region in 2017. This is 5,600 fewer than in the peak year of 2010 and corresponds to a decrease of 8%. 

    The decrease in the number of births during the current decade is reflected in a decrease in the total fertility rate (TFR). TFR is a comprehensive measure of fertility in a demographic sense, which indicates how many children a woman would have on average if the respective fertility rate per age would apply at every age in her fertile period (from 15 to 49 years of age). The total fertility rate fell from 1.81 in 2010 to 1.62 in 2017. These are figures for the legally resident population of the Flemish Region. 

  • Mothers average age 30.5 years at birth of child

    Between 2010 and 2017, the fertility of women between the ages of 20 and 30 decreased, while it increased slightly after the age of 35. The average age of mothers therefore rises from 29.7 years in 2010 to 30.5 years in 2017.  

  • Higher fertility among women with foreign nationality

    Women with a foreign nationality have on average one child more than women with the Belgian nationality. The total fertility rate in 2017 was 2.6 for foreign women and 1.5 for Belgian women. For women of foreign nationality, total fertility is generally higher for women of non-EU nationality than for women of EU nationality. 

    Compared to 2010, the total fertility rate among Belgian women fell sharply in 2017 (from an average of 1.7 to 1.5 children/woman). A decrease can also be observed for the group of women of non-EU nationality (from 3.5 to 3.3 children/woman).  

  • Highest fertility in the district of Antwerp

    The total fertility rate for the 2015-2017 period varies between districts. The highest value can be found in the district of Antwerp (1.81 children per woman), followed by the districts of Halle-Vilvoorde (1.77), Diksmuide (1.75) and Sint-Niklaas (1.75). Lower values can be found in the districts Leuven (1.53), Hasselt (1.52) and Bruges (1.49). 

  • Fertility in Flanders slightly above EU average

    The total fertility rate for the usually resident population of the Flemish Region was on average 1.62 children per woman in 2017. The value is more or less the same for the Walloon Region (1.64). The value is higher for the Brussels-Capital Region (1.81). 

    Within the European Union (EU), Belgium (1.65) and the Flemish Region (1.62) can be found in the middle range, with values slightly above the general average for the EU (1.59). France (1,90) is at the top of the ranking, followed at a noticeable distance by Sweden and Ireland. Particularly low values (<1.40) are recorded in Luxembourg and in the southern EU member states. 

Sources

Statistics Flanders: Population movement 

Statbel: Population 

Eurostat: Database 

Definitions

Total fertility rate (TFR): sum of the fertility rate per age for all fertile ages (generally from 15 to 49 years of age). The result can be understood as the number of children a woman would have in her fertile life (from 15 to 49 years of age) if at every age she were subject to the fertility rate of the given year.
 

Fertility rate by age: the ratio between the number of live births to women of a certain age during the year of observation and the (average) number of women of this age. Fertility in the demographic sense refers to the actual number of births per woman. Here, it refers to the number of live births to women of the legally resident population, i.e. with an official place of residence (main domicile), in the Flemish Region 
 

Legally resident population (under Belgian law): does not include persons registered in the waiting register (for asylum seekers). 
 

Usually resident population (according to the European Regulation (EC) no. 862/2007): also includes persons registered in the waiting register if they have been in the country for a long time (at least 12 months, or have the intention to do so). 

Publication date

10 September 2019

Next update

September 2020

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