Fertility

  • On average 1.55 children per woman

    In 2020 62.798 births were registered to women residing in the Flemish Region. This is more than 10% less than in the peak year of 2010. It concerns the number of births within the legally resident population.

    The decrease in the number of births between 2010 and 2020 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 (from 15 to 49 years of age) would apply.

    The total fertility rate fell from 1.81 in 2010 to 1.55 in 2020. That corresponds to a decrease of 14%.

  • Mothers on average 30.4 years at birth of child

    Between 2010 and 2020, the fertility rate of women between the ages of 20 and 30 decreased, while the rate increased slightly among those of 35 years and older. The average age of women at birth of a child therefore rose from 29.7 years in 2010 to 30.4 years in 2020.

  • Higher fertility among women with foreign nationality

    Women with a foreign nationality have on average almost 1 child more than women with the Belgian nationality. The total fertility rate in 2020 was 2.32 for foreign women and 1.43 for Belgian women.

    A further breakdown shows that the total fertility is higher for women with an EU nationality and for those with a nationality from outside the EU. In particular, women with a nationality from outside the EU have a fairly high overall fertility level.

    Compared to 2010, the total fertility rate among Belgian women fell sharply in 2020: from an average of 1.72 to 1.43 children per woman. The latter number is below the threshold of 1.5, which corresponds to very low period total fertility.

    A considerable decrease can also be observed for the women with a non-EU nationality: from an average of 3.51 in 2010 to 2.8 children per woman in 2020. But that does not yet result in a low total fertility rate.

  • Highest fertility in the district of Halle-Vilvoorde

    The total fertility rate for the 2019-2020 period varies between the 22 districts of the Flemish Region, with values ranging from 1.43 to 1.73.

    The highest value can be found in the district of Halle-Vilvoorde (1.73 children per woman), followed by the districts of Kortrijk (1.71) and Antwerp (1.68).

    The lowest value belongs to the district of Leuven (1.43). Also the districts of Bruges, Hasselt and Ghent show very low values (less than 1.45).

  • Fertility in Flanders slightly above EU average

    The total fertility rate for the usually resident population of the Flemish Region was on average 1.57 children per woman in 2019. The value was slightly higher in the Walloon Region (1.61) and a bit higher in the Brussels-Capital Region (1.70).

    Within the European Union (EU), Belgium (1.60) and the Flemish Region (1.57) can be found in the middle range, with total fertility rates slightly above the general average for the EU27 countries (1.53). France (1.86) is at the top of the ranking, followed at a noticeable distance by Romania (1.77). Particularly low values (less than 1.40) are recorded in Luxembourg and in the southern EU member states. Women in Italy, Spain and Malta had in 2019 a total fertility rate less than 1.3.

Sources

Statistics Flanders: Demographic components

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): the population registered in the National Register as published by the Belgian statistical office Statbel. It concerns residents with a right to permanent residence or settlement in Belgium or with a right to temporary residence (> 3 months) in the country.  This does not include persons registered in the waiting register for asylum seekers.

 

Usually resident populationthe population habitually resident in the country as published by the European statistical office Eurostat. This partly includes persons registered in the waiting register for asylum seekers/applicants for international protection (depending on the length of stay according to the European provision).

Very low period total fertility: the total fertility rate is traditionally categorised into a few classes with fixed threshold values. A fertility rate smaller than 1.5 is labelled as very low period total fertility.

Publication date

17 September 2021

Next update

September 2022

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