Life expectancy

  • Life expectancy at birth in 2020 decreased slightly to 82 years

    Life expectancy at birth in the Flemish Region for the entire legally resident population stood at 82 years in 2020.  Life expectancy at birth was 80 years for men and 84.1 years for women. This gives an extra life expectancy at birth for women of 4.1 years compared to men.

    Between 2000 and 2019, life expectancy at birth has increased gradually: from 78.5 years in 2000 to 82.7 years in 2019 (+4.2 years) for the total population. This increase is higher for men (+5.1 years) than for women (+3.3 years).

    In 2020, for the first time in 20 years, a clear decline in life expectancy was observed. This is related to the high number of deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Higher life expectancy for women also at older ages

    Even at older ages, women maintain a higher life expectancy than men: at the age of 65, women have a surplus of +2.9 years; at the age of 85, the surplus equals +1.1 years.

  • Highest life expectancy for men in the districts of Maaseik, Leuven and Turnhout

    Life expectancy at birth varied between 78.8 and 81 years for men in the 22 Flemish districts in the 2018-2020 period. This is a difference of 2.3 years.

    Life expectancy at birth for men is highest in the districts of Maaseik, Leuven and Turnhout, and lowest in the districts of Oudenaarde, Ostend and Aalst.

  • Highest life expectancy for women in the districts of Maaseik, Tielt and Bruges

    Life expectancy at birth varied between 83.6 and 84.9 years for women in the 22 Flemish districts in the 2018-2020 period. This difference of 1.3 years between the districts is smaller than among men.

    Life expectancy at birth for women is highest in the districts of Maaseik, Tielt and Bruges, and lowest in the districts of Turnhout, Sint-Niklaas and Dendermonde.

  • Flanders in European sub-top for life expectancy

    Within Belgium, life expectancy at birth for the legally resident population in 2019 was highest in the Flemish Region (80.7 years for men, 84.7 years for women). Life expectancy for Flemish men is 3.0 years higher than for men from the Walloon Region and 1.6 years higher than for men from the Brussels-Capital Region. Women have an extra life expectancy of 1.9 years and 0.9 years respectively.

    Within the European Union (EU27), Belgium is in the mid-range in terms of life expectancy at birth for the usually resident population, with a value above the European average (+0.8 years). This surplus is stronger for men (+1.3 years) than for women (+0.3 years).

    Highest and lowest values for the different EU member states vary considerably: for men there is a 10.6-year difference in life expectancy between Sweden (81.5 years) and Latvia (70.9 years). For women the difference is almost 8 years between Spain (86.7 years) and Bulgaria (78.8 years). In general, the Southern European countries (Spain, Italy, France) together with Sweden are at the top of the ranking in terms of life expectancy and the Eastern European countries (Romania, Latvia and Bulgaria) are at the bottom.

Definitions

Life expectancy: indicates how many life-years a person can expect to live at a certain age if he were subject to the observed mortality rates per age of the observation period for the rest of his life. 

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 population: the 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 if they have been in the country for a long time (at least 12 months, or have the intention to do so). 

Publication date

17 September 2021

Next update

September 2022

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