• Increase in the number of deaths in recent years

    63,397 inhabitants of the Flemish Region died in the course of 2018. This amounts to 867 more deaths than in the previous year (+1.4%) and significantly more than in 2008 (+10%). Population growth (+6% between 2008 and 2018) and ongoing ageing (from 18% of the population aged over 65 in 2008 to 20% in 2018) play a role in this respect. 

  • Fewer deaths than births

    In all observation years since 1990, there have been fewer deaths than births in the Flemish Region. This has always resulted in a positive natural balance. 63,397 people died, compared to 64,336 births in 2018, resulting in a positive balance of +939 units (+0.14 per 1,000 inhabitants). 

  • Premature mortality decreases

    Premature mortality refers to the number of deaths before the age of 75. In 2017, 17,834 people died before the age of 75, representing 29% of the total number of deaths. For men the rate is 36%, for women 21%. Compared to 2010, there is a decrease in the relative share of premature mortality.  

  • Nearly 10 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants per year

    The Flemish Region recorded 9.6 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants in 2018. This  crude mortality rate is slightly higher in the Walloon Region (10.6 per 1,000) and lower in the Brussels-Capital Region (7.4 per 1,000). For the Brussels-Capital Region, the crude mortality rate fell significantly between 1990 and 2018. 

    Crude mortality rates are related to the age structure of the population. Unlike the Flemish and Walloon Regions, the population of the Brussels-Capital Region is becoming younger and this also explains the decline in that region. 

  • High crude mortality rate for coastal municipalities

    Just under half (46%) of the cities and municipalities have a crude mortality rate which is higher than the average rate for the Flemish Region for the 2016-2018 period (9.5 per 1,000 inhabitants). Relatively high rates are recorded (≥12.5 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants) especially in the coastal municipalities, with their older populations. The highest rates can be found in Horebeke (18.1) and Maarkedal (15.1) in the Flemish Ardennes. The lowest rate is for Baarle-Hertog (5.3). 


    Large cities such as Antwerp (9.4), Ghent (8.8), Leuven (8.3) and Mechelen (8.5) have lower rates than the Flemish average. This is not the case for the central cities of Bruges (11.2) and Kortrijk (11.7). 

  • Flanders slightly below the EU average rate for crude mortality

    The Flemish Region and Belgium have slightly lower rates for crude mortality than the European average. The Member States with higher rates are Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania. The Member States with lower rates are Luxembourg, Cyprus and Ireland. The ranking partially also reflects the age structure of the total population in the Member States, with usually high rates for an older population and low rates for a younger population. 


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). 


Death: This only refers to the number of deaths for the legally resident population of the Flemish Region, i.e. persons with an official place of residence (main domicile) in the region. The deaths of persons registered in the waiting register (such as asylum seekers) are not included. 


Crude mortality rate: sets the number of deaths against the (average) population of the defined territory. This is generally expressed per 1,000 inhabitants. 'Crude' (or ‘gross’) rate is used because the age distribution of the population is not taken into account. 


Average population: the arithmetical 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).  


Premature mortality refers to the number of deaths before the age of 75 (according to last birthday). 

Publication date

9 July 2019

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