Natality and fertility

Decrease in birth rate and increase in mother’s age in 2023

Population
Decrease in birth rate and increase in mother’s age in 2023

The number of newborns decreased by 3% in 2023 compared to 2022 The total fertility rate falls to 1.47 children per woman. The average age at childbirth slightly increases to 31.3 years. This is what emerged from the provisional statistics on birth and fertility rates published by Statbel, the Belgian statistical office.

In 2023, 110.198 new little residents were born in Belgium. This is the lowest number of births since 1942, even lower than in 2002 (111.484 births). This is a 3% decrease compared to 2022.

As in the previous year, this decrease was particularly more pronounced in the Brussels-Capital Region (-5.1%). In Wallonia, it is slightly more significant (-4.8%) while in Flanders it is only 1.5% compared to 2022.

This decrease in the birth rate is observed both among Belgian mothers (-3.2%) and foreign mothers (-2.3%), with, again, a more pronounced trend in Brussels and in Wallonia.

According to provisional data, the average age of mothers at childbirth, all ranks combined, continues to increase to reach 31.3 years. The co-parent’s age remains stable: 34.3 years. However, this age has been rising since 2000: women are 2 years older at the birth of their child(ren) than they were then. This age is higher in Brussels (32.3) than in Flanders (31.2) and Wallonia (31.1).

In 2023, there is 1.47 children per woman. The total fertility rate[1] falls to 1.26 for Belgian mothers in the Brussels-Capital Region. It is still above the threshold of generation renewal (2.1 children per woman) among mothers of foreign nationality in the Flemish Region.


[1]The total fertility rate (TFR) is the sum of the age-specific fertility rates (the age-specific fertility rate being the ratio between live births from women of a given age and the average number of women of this age). The TFR is the number of children that would be born to a woman if she were to live to the end of her childbearing years and bear children in accordance with age-specific fertility rates of the specified year.

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Content

Purpose and brief description

The statistics on births and fertility are compiled based on two sources: the declaration forms for births at the municipal civil registry and the National Register. The first source is the most important and most extensive one. It provides a lot of information on all the children born in the country (de facto births) and on their parents. The second source is the fastest. However, it only provides information on the births of children whose mother is registered in the National Register. By combining these two sources and using the National Register as a basic source from 2010 on, the statistics only record live births to women residing legally in Belgium, regardless of whether these births take place in Belgium or abroad. These births are broken down according to the administrative units of the country, according to the main characteristics of the mother and according to certain characteristics of the newborn child. A number of fertility indicators can also be derived. It is therefore possible to position the level and evolution of the country’s demographic dynamics. The fertility rate by age is the ratio between the number of live births to women of a certain age and the average number of women of that age, for the given year. The total fertility rate (TFR) summarises the successive fertility rates by age and is the sum of those figures. The TFR is the number of children a woman would have in her reproductive years if she lived with the same fertility rate at each age...

Population

All live births

Periodicity

Annually.

Release calendar

Results available 1 year after the reference period

Definitions

Month of birth: Month of birth, from the date of birth

Child gender: Gender of the child

Place of birth: Place of delivery:

Twin birth: Total number of births, including stillbirths, following the pregnancy

Birth order of the child: Birth order of the child in all live births to the mother

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

Type of childbirth: Type of help in childbirth

Birth defects: Presence of one or more birth defects

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

APGAR after 1 min: APGAR score after 1 minute.

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