Feto-infant mortality

Feto-infant mortality 2019

Feto-infant mortality 2019

In 2019, feto-infant mortality, which is the sum of infant deaths and stillbirths, amounted to 1,002 deaths for the whole country.

In 2019, 426 deaths of children younger than 1 year were recorded; this is 13 fewer deaths than in 2018.

This number is also 24.1% lower than in 1999. The infant mortality rate amounts to 3.6 per mille in 2019 compared to 4.9 at the end of the previous century.

At regional level, there were 59 deaths of children younger than 1 year of age in the Brussels-Capital Region, 231 in the Flemish Region and 136 in the Walloon Region.

Decrease in the number of stillborn babies

There is in 2019 a new decrease in the number of stillbirths, with 576 registered. That is 25 fewer than in 2018. This is due to a decrease of the stillbirth rate in Flanders (-28 deaths) and in the Brussels-Capital Region (-16 deaths).  However, Wallonia registers a new increase (+19 deaths).

The infant mortality rate is the ratio between the number of deaths of children younger than one year of age during the year and the number of live births of that same year (in per mille). The stillbirth rate is the ratio between the number of stillbirths during the year and the total of births (including stillbirths) of that same year (in per mille). Are considered stillborn babies the children dead at birth whose birth weight was equal or above 500 grams or, if the birth weight is unknown, with a gestational age of at least 22 weeks. Stillborn babies whose birth weight and gestational age are unknown are also taken into account.

Age of death BELGIUM
Boys Girls Total
Total 243 183 426
Less than 1 day 48 54 102
1 day 16 11 27
2 days 15 4 19
3 days 16 4 20
4 days 13 6 19
5 days 6 2 8
6 days 5 6 11
7 to 27 days 51 40 91
28 to 364 days 73 56 129
Average age (in days) 43,4 36,4 40,4
Source: Statbel (Directorate-General Statistics- Statistics Belgium)

Purpose and brief description

The feto-infant mortality statistics are compiled on the basis of the declaration form of the death of a child under one year of age or of a stillborn child. Since 2010, the National Register has also been used to more accurately determine the relevant official life events and to check the main information. These statistics break down deaths into those before the age of one year old and infants who were stillborn, per gender, by administrative units of the country, by the main characteristics of the mother (age, civil status, state of union, level of education, professional status, nationality) and by certain characteristics of the delivery and of the newborns (location, way of giving birth, twin birth, weight, duration of the pregnancy, congenital defect). They also produce various indicators of feto-infant mortality and a breakdown of feto-infant deaths according to the age of death.

Data collection method

The feto-infant mortality statistics are compiled on the basis of two sources: the National Register of Natural Persons (NRPP) and the statistical declaration forms for a child under one year old or stillborn (Model IIID). These forms are an important source on infant mortality and provide a lot of information, especially health data. They also provide information about the circumstances of birth and about the parents of the deceased children. They are the only source of information on stillbirths or late fetal deaths. The information provided by the NR is less extensive, concerns only infant mortality, but is available more quickly; it contains the death of all children residing in Belgium (and therefore registered in the NR), regardless of whether the death took place in Belgium or abroad. Until 2009, these two sources were consolidated in relation to each other, but in the sense that the declaration forms served as a reference, with the NR being used mainly to provide the data that were missing or not requested on the declaration forms. Therefore, only the deaths (that took place in Belgium and were therefore) reported to the Belgian Registry Office were taken into account when compiling the infant mortality statistics, i.e. those for which the stated place of residence was a Belgian municipality. Since 2010, the statistics have been produced with the NR as reference. Henceforth, only the death of a child included in the NR will be taken into account. By using the NR, the death of a child abroad can be included in the statistics. It also makes it possible to acknowledge the death of children registered in the waiting register for refugees and asylum seekers.


All feto-infant deaths



Release calendar

Results available 1 year after the reference period


Deceased infant: death before the first birthday of a live-born child.

Stillborn child: child who, at the time of birth, does not show any sign of life (such as breathing, heartbeat, pulsating of the umbilical cord, effective contraction of a muscle) and weighs at least 500 grams or, if the weight is unknown, had a gestational age of at least 22 weeks. Below this limit, we are talking about a premature fetal death that is not officially declared.

Twin birth: Total number of births, including stillbirths, due to pregnancy

Place of the child: Place of the child in the totality of living births to the mother

Duration of the pregnancy: Duration of the pregnancy (in weeks) at the time of birth

Way of giving birth: Type of assistance during birth

Congenital defects: Presence of one or more congenital defects

Weight: Weight (in grams) of the child at birth

Apgar after 1 minute: Apgar score after 1 minute

Apgar after 5 minutes: Apgar score after 5 minutes.