Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, publishes today the causes of death for 2016.
Despite a slight decrease of their relative importance, the diseases of the circulatory system (27.7 % of all causes of death) remain the leading cause of death, followed by tumours (26.4 %) and diseases of the respiratory system (10.4 %). This ranking remains the same in all regions.
However, for men, tumours rank first (29.9 %) followed by diseases of the circulatory system (25.7%), while for women, the national ranking is respected.
The share of tumours in all causes of death starts growing again (25.9 % in 2015), with significant progress for malignant neoplasm of breast (+2.8 %), very slight progress for malignant neoplasm of the respiratory system (in particular larynx, trachea, bronchus and lung; +0.4 %) and a slight decrease for malignant neoplasm of prostate (1.4 % of all causes of death ; -0.5 %).
Compared to 2015, the number of deaths has decreased by 2.2 %. This decrease is mainly observed among diseases of the respiratory system (-5.4 %), endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases (-8.1 %) and infectious and parasitic diseases (-9.8 %). After the 2015 epidemic, the number of deaths caused by influenza has been divided by nearly three (-62.4 %) and the category “influenza and pneumonia” decreases significantly (-8.1 %)
Furthermore, the number of deaths caused by transport accidents continues to decrease significantly (-7.9 % in 2016; -60 % since 1998), with a somewhat slower evolution in Wallonia (-54 % since 1998) than in the two other regions (-71 % in the Brussels-Capital Region and -64 % in Flanders).
Finally, after a small decrease in 2015, the number of suicides has returned to a level close to that of 1998 (1,903 deaths; 1.8 % of all deaths). It should be noted that this share is slightly lower in the Brussels-Capital Region (1.4 % of all deaths, with a slight increase) and in Flanders (1.7 % of all deaths, remaining stable) than in Wallonia (1.9 % of the total, rising for the last 3-4 years).
Based on statistical death bulletins, which are managed by the federated entities, the statistic on causes of death has now a homogeneous series for the period 1998-2016. This homogeneity of the series is achieved because the three federated institutions concerned use the tenth revision of the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) to code the causes of death and to identify, among them, the initial cause on the basis of which the main tables of the statistic are produced. Homogeneity is further enhanced through exchanges on good coding practices that are systematically organised between these institutions.
Constructed this way, the statistic offers many possibilities of analysis: by cause or group of causes, by region, but also by sex and by age or age group. In addition, Statbel decided in 2010 to link the causes of death to the data from the National Register. This now makes it possible to consider a link between these causes of death and other administrative databases, providing thus important research opportunities.
Belgium - Deaths by sex and by region, 2016
Belgium - Deaths by sex and by region, for some groups of causes, 2016
|Number of cases||%||Number of cases||%||Number of cases||%|
|Brussels-Capital Region||All causes||4,326||100,0%||4,740||100,0%||9,066||100,0%|
|Diseases of the circulatory system||1,032||23,9%||1,301||27,4%||2,333||25,7%|
|Diseases of the respiratory system||455||10,5%||501||10,6%||956||10,5%|
|Flemish Region||All causes||30,448||100,0%||30,465||100,0%||60,913||100,0%|
|Diseases of the circulatory system||8,009||26,3%||9,355||30,7%||17,364||28,5%|
|Diseases of the respiratory system||3,456||11,4%||2,777||9,1%||6,233||10,2%|
|Walloon Region||All causes||18,522||100,0%||19,555||100,0%||38,077||100,0%|
|Diseases of the circulatory system||4,671||25,2%||5,566||28,5%||10,237||26,9%|
|Diseases of the respiratory system||2,064||11,1%||1,950||10,0%||4,014||10,5%|
|Diseases of the circulatory system||13,712||25,7%||16,222||29,6%||29,934||27,7%|
|Diseases of the respiratory system||5,975||11,2%||5,228||9,5%||11,203||10,4%|