Causes of death

In 2016, tumours continue to increase as initial causes of death

Population
Causes of death

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

  Men Women Total
Brussels-Capital Region 4,326 4,740 9,066
Flemish Region 30,448 30,465 60,913
Walloon Region 18,522 19,555 38,077
Belgium 53,296 54,760 108,056

Belgium - Deaths by sex and by region, for some groups of causes, 2016

  Men Women Total
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%
Tumours 1,167 27,0% 1,063 22,4% 2,230 24,6%
Diseases of the respiratory system 455 10,5% 501 10,6% 956 10,5%
Suicides 88 2,0% 39 0,8% 127 1,4%
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%
Tumours 9,506 31,2% 7,293 23,9% 16,799 27,6%
Diseases of the respiratory system 3,456 11,4% 2,777 9,1% 6,233 10,2%
Suicides 751 2,5% 291 1,0% 1,045 1,7%
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%
Tumours 5,242 28,3% 4,289 21,9% 9,531 24,8%
Diseases of the respiratory system 2,064 11,1% 1,950 10,0% 4,014 10,5%
Suicides 521 2,8% 210 1,1% 731 1,9%
Belgium All causes 53,296 100,0% 54,760 100,0% 108,056 100,0%
Diseases of the circulatory system 13,712 25,7% 16,222 29,6% 29,934 27,7%
Tumours 15,915 29,9% 12,645 23,1% 28,560 26,4%
Diseases of the respiratory system 5,975 11,2% 5,228 9,5% 11,203 10,4%
Suicides 1,360 2,6% 543 1,0% 1,903 1,8%
Deaths
Content

Belgium - Deaths by sex and by region, 2016

  Men Women Total
Brussels-Capital Region 4,326 4,740 9,066
Flemish Region 30,448 30,465 60,913
Walloon Region 18,522 19,555 38,077
Belgium 53,296 54,760 108,056
Causes
Content

Belgium - Deaths by sex and by region, for some groups of causes, 2016

  Men Women Total
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%
Tumours 1,167 27,0% 1,063 22,4% 2,230 24,6%
Diseases of the respiratory system 455 10,5% 501 10,6% 956 10,5%
Suicides 88 2,0% 39 0,8% 127 1,4%
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%
Tumours 9,506 31,2% 7,293 23,9% 16,799 27,6%
Diseases of the respiratory system 3,456 11,4% 2,777 9,1% 6,233 10,2%
Suicides 751 2,5% 294 1,0% 1,045 1,7%
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%
Tumours 5,242 28,3% 4,289 21,9% 9,531 24,8%
Diseases of the respiratory system 2,064 11,1% 1,950 10,0% 4,014 10,5%
Suicides 521 2,8% 210 1,1% 731 1,9%
Belgium All causes 53,296 100,0% 54,760 100,0% 108,056 100,0%
Diseases of the circulatory system 13,712 25,7% 16,222 29,6% 29,934 27,7%
Tumours 15,915 29,9% 12,645 23,1% 28,560 26,4%
Diseases of the respiratory system 5,975 11,2% 5,228 9,5% 11,203 10,4%
Suicides 1,360 2,6% 543 1,0% 1,903 1,8%
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