Widowhoods down by 5% in 2023

Widowhoods down by 5% in 2023

The number of widowhoods has decreased by 5% in 2023. This decrease is more significant in Brussels-Capital (-8.3%) than in Flanders (-4.4%) and in Wallonia (-5.4%).

The average duration of marriage before widowhood is 49.1 years. People become widowed after 52.2 years in the case of first marriages. In 2023, the total widowhood rate amounts to 576 per 1,000 marriages, i.e. just under 60% of marriages end in widowhood.


Widowhood per gender of the spouses, per region and per province, 2023

Administrative unit All widows and widowers Widowers Widows
Belgium (Total) 39,020 12,668 26,352
Brussels-Capital Region 2,353 682 1,671
Flemish Region 24,273 8,028 16,245
Province of Antwerp 6,409 2,157 4,252
Province of Limburg 3,275 1,082 2,193
Province of East Flanders 5,621 1,820 3,801
Province of Flemish Brabant 4,018 1,359 2,659
Province of West Flanders 4,950 1,610 3,340
Walloon Region 12,394 3,958 8,436
Province of Walloon Brabant 1,311 420 891
Province of Hainaut 4,767 1,443 3,324
Province of Liège 3,713 1,228 2,485
Province of Luxembourg 980 309 671
Province of Namur 1,623 558 1,065
of which German-speaking Community 308 93 215
Source: Statbel (Directorate-General Statistics - Statistics Belgium).

Purpose and short description

The statistic includes all widowhoods having occurred during a given year and concerning a Belgian resident. These events are divided according to the widow(er)’s municipality of residence, the month of the event, the age, the nationality of the spouses, the household’s situation, the parental situation, the marriage duration,... It also presents the average ages at the time of widowhood according to various criteria: sex, order of marriage, nationality.

Survey population

All widowhoods



Release calendar

Results available 9 months after the reference period.


The crude widowhood rate is the ratio between the number of widowhoods having occurred during the year and the mean of the total population of that same year.

The total “widowhood” rate or sum of duration-specific widowhoods indicates the number of widowhoods in a fictitious group of 1,000 marriages if, for each marriage duration, we observe the same widowhood rates than those recorded in the year concerned. Municipality of widowhood: municipality of residence of the widow(er) at the time of the event.

Month of widowhood: month of widowhood derived from the date of widowhood (i.e. the death of the spouse).

Age of the widow(er): age of the widow(er) at the time of widowhood, calculated in completed years as the difference between the date of the widowhood and the date of birth.

Age of the deceased spouse: age of the spouse at the time of his/her death, calculated in completed years as the difference between the date of death (=date of widowhood for the surviving spouse) and the date of birth.

Group of nationalities: grouping of the countries of nationality of the widow(er) or his/her deceased spouse according to whether this country is Belgium, a Member State of the European Union or another country.

Place of marriage: place where the marriage of the widow(er) and his/her deceased spouse has been registered according to IT120 of the National Register.

Household’s situation: type of household where the widow(er) lives at the time of widowhood, based mainly on the analysis of ITs 140 and 141 on the household composition and its members.

Parental situation: situation of the widow(er) according to the presence or not of at least one of his/her children at the same residence; based on the analysis of the IT 110 on filiation.

Geographical situation of the widow(er)’s children: distance of any children of the widow(er), based on the joint analysis of ITs 110 (filiation), 001 (municipality of residence) and 020 (address of the main residence). A child identified at the same address as his/her widowed parent is considered to be living at the latter’s home. Only living children registered in the National Register are taken into account. The category “Child(ren) abroad” includes widow(er)s without any children registered in Belgium at the time of widowhood and having at least one child registered abroad or deleted from the National Register at that same date. Widow(er)s with children abroad who have never lived in Belgium and so never been registered in the National Register cannot be taken into consideration.

Average duration of marriage: average of marriage durations (=difference between the date of widowhood and the date of marriage) of the cases of widowhood observed in a given year. Those for which the date of marriage is not known are not included.

Average age at the time of widowhood/death: average of ages of the persons concerned (widow(er)s or their deceased spouse). The persons whose age at the time of widowhood/decease is not known are not taken into account.