In 2020, 126,850 inhabitants died in Belgium

In 2020, 126,850 inhabitants died in Belgium

In 2020, 126,850 inhabitants died in Belgium (all causes of death combined). This is an increase of +16.6% compared to 2019, in which 108,745 deaths were recorded. This is what emerged from the figures of Statbel, the Belgian statistical office. The Covid-19 pandemic has a clear impact on Belgian mortality rates.


In 2020, 126,850 deaths were registered in Belgium. That is 18,105 more deaths than in 2019, or an increase of 16.6%. If we compare with the average number of deaths in the period 2017-2019, then the increase amounts to 15.7%. These percentages are a comparison between the number of observed deaths and do not take into account the population structure.

The general mortality rates conceal differences between the regions. Compared to the average number of deaths 2017-2019, the number of deaths in 2020 increased by 13.0% in the Flemish Region, by 18.5% in the Walloon Region and by 22.7% in the Brussels-Capital Region.


Historical data on mortality is also available, with mortality rates per year since 1841 and per month since 1919. In 2020, mortality rates were the highest in April (15,449 deaths) and November (14,035 deaths). Such high monthly absolute mortality figures have never been recorded since 1919 for both months.

With the historical dataset, we can also compare gross mortality rates. These are calculated as the ratio of the number of deaths to the total population. In terms of gross mortality rate, 2020 is certainly not in first place. The gross mortality rate for 2020 ranks 147th (among the 180 years since 1841) and is at approximately the same level as the gross mortality rates registered in the 80’s.

Year Total population Mortality Number of deaths per 100,000 inhabitants Number of deaths per 1,000 inhabitants (gross mortality rate in per mille)
1986 9,858,895 111,671 1,133 11.3
1984 9,853,023 110,577 1,122 11.2
2020 11,492,641 126,850 1,104 11.0
1989 9,927,612 107,332 1,081 10.8
1987 9,864,751 105,840 1,073 10.7

This comparison of population figures with observed mortality figures does not take into account the population structure. Further scientific research must show the impact of the population structure on these mortality figures.