In 2019, life expectancy at birth in Belgium was 81.8 years for the total population, 84.0 years for women and 79.6 years for men. This is what emerged from an analysis of the mortality figures carried out by Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, for the year 2019, a period where there was no COVID19 crisis yet.
Compared to 2018, life expectancy at birth has increased by 0.3 years for the total population. The increase is slightly higher than the one observed in 2018 (+0.1 years).
There are a number of clear regional disparities:
- In Flanders, life expectancy at birth (82.7 years) is higher than in Brussels (81.6 years) and in Wallonia (80.3 years).
- Life expectancy has increased the most in the Walloon Region, by 150 days (+0.41 years). The increase amounts to 128 days (+0.35 years) in Flanders and to 22 days (+0.06 years) in the Brussels-Capital Region.
- The total mortality rate decreased slightly in 2019, resulting in a gross mortality rate of 9.5 per thousand inhabitants (9.7 in 2018).
Evolution of life expectancy at birth in Belgium, per gender, 1885-2019
There are also differences between men and women. In more than 20 years, the difference in life expectancy between men and women became about 2 years smaller:
- At national level, it appears from the annual table that the life expectancy at birth of men increases again (139 days, +0.38 years). Life expectancy is also increasing for women (113 days; +0.31 years), but this increase is slightly smaller than for men.
- As a result, the difference between men and women continues to decrease and is now 4.4 years. By comparison, in 1998, the difference in life expectancy between women and men still amounted to 6.3 years.
Compared to 2018, there were regional shifts:
- Life expectancy in the Walloon Region has substantially increased (150 days, +0.41 years), especially for men (186 days, +0.46 years).
- Life expectancy in Flanders is the highest. The increase in Flanders is about the same as the national average (128 days, +0.35 years), with a slightly stronger increase for men than for women.
- In the Brussels-Capital Region, the increase is very limited (22 days, +0.06 years), with life expectancy at birth stagnating for men (-0.01 years).
- The higher the life expectancy at birth, the smaller the difference between men and women: in Flanders the difference is 4.1 years, in the Brussels-Capital Region 4.8 years and in Wallonia 5.1 years.
The three-year life tables 2017-2019 also show evolutions at provincial level:
- In six of the ten Belgian provinces, life expectancy at birth is more than 82 years.
- The province with the highest life expectancy is Flemish Brabant (82.8 years), followed by Limburg (82.7 years) and West Flanders (82.4 years).
- Then come Walloon Brabant (82.4 years), Antwerp (82.3 years) and East Flanders (82.1 years).
- Four provinces in Wallonia are below the national average of 81.8 years: Luxembourg (80.3 years), Liège (80.1 years), Namur (79.8 years) and Hainaut (79.3 years).