Births

4.5% decrease in births in 2023 compared to the average for 2019-2022

Population
4.5% decrease in births in 2023 compared to the average for 2019-2022

Some 110,400 births were provisionally recorded in Belgium in 2023. That is some 5,200 fewer births than the average for the period 2019-2022, or a 4.5% decrease. Regional differences are significant: the figures show a decrease in the Flemish Region (-2.3%) and the Walloon Region (-5.0%) and a substantial drop in the Brussels-Capital Region (-12.0%) compared to the period 2019-2022. This is what emerged from a first, provisional overview of the number of births in the year 2023 from Statbel, the Belgian statistical office.

The publication contains the provisional number of births down to the district level in 2023 and is based on the 3 February 2024 extraction from the National Register.

This publication compares the number of births in 2023 with the average number of births for the period 2019-2022. The evolution of the number of women of childbearing age and the population structure were not taken into account. Further scientific research must show their impact on the number of births. These provisional figures do not yet allow us to make any clear statements, but they give a rough idea of the evolution of the number of births. A more detailed analysis will be possible when the final number of births is calculated. For that, we have to wait for the publication of the population figures on 1 January 2024, which will be published in June 2024.

The year 2023 registers 4.5% fewer births than the average for the period 2019-2022

Some 110,400 births were provisionally recorded in 2023. That is some 5,200 fewer births than in the period 2019-2022, when an average of 115,587 births were recorded per year, or a 4.5% decrease.

Decrease in Flanders and Wallonia, significant drop in Brussels

Behind the evolution in the number of births are large regional differences.

In the Flemish Region, approximately 62,400 births were registered. This is just under 1,500 fewer than the average number of births in 2019-2022, or a 2.3% decline.

Just over 34,100 births were registered in Wallonia. That is a good 1,800 fewer births than the average number in the period 2019-2022, or a decrease of 5.0%.

Finally, the Brussels-Capital Region recorded just under 13,900 births. This is some 1,900 fewer births than the average for the 2019-2022 period. Consequently, Brussels has the sharpest decline in the number of births of all regions with 12.0% compared to the same reference period.

Table 1: Evolution of the number of births in Belgium and the Regions from 2019 to 2023.

  Number of births 2019 Number of births 2020 Number of births 2021 Number of births 2022 Number of births 2023 Average number of births 2019-2022 Evolution 2023 vs average 2019-2022 (in %)
Belgium 117,103 113,739 117,914 113,593 110,404 115,587 -4.5%
Flemish Region 63,721 62,798 65,747 63,284 62,402 63,888 -2.3%
Walloon Region 36,528 35,094 36,477 35,565 34,111 35,916 -5.0%
Brussels-Capital Region 16,854 15,847 15,690 14,744 13,891 15,784 -12.0%

Large variation throughout the year

In 2023, the number of births was each month lower than the average for the period 2019-2022. The decrease in the number of births compared to the average for the period 2019-2022 varies every month between -1.9% and -10.5%.

However, these variations on a monthly basis should be interpreted with caution. Rather unusual fluctuations in the number of births per month were observed at the end of 2020 and in 2021, this presumably due to the coronavirus pandemic. This period is part of the 2019-2022 reference period and thus affects to some extent the average number of births per month in this period.

Table 2: Evolution of the number of births per month from 2019 to 2023.

  Number of births 2019 Number of births 2020 Number of births 2021 Number of births 2022 Number of births 2023 Average number of births 2019-2022 Evolution 2023 vs average 2019-2022 (in %)
January 9,946 9,668 8,656 9,446 9,204 9,429 -2.4%
February 8,784 8,684 8,689 8,914 8,523 8,768 -2.8%
March 9,247 9,687 9,990 9,639 9,452 9,641 -2.0%
April 9,574 9,493 9,684 9,214 8,999 9,491 -5.2%
May 9,973 9,581 9,615 9,848 9,469 9,754 -2.9%
June 9,847 9,752 9,946 9,688 9,448 9,808 -3.7%
July 10,763 10,413 10,520 9,995 9,665 10,423 -7.3%
August 10,241 9,769 10,321 9,846 9,856 10,044 -1.9%
September 9,936 9,706 10,588 9,732 8,939 9,991 -10.5%
October 10,130 9,608 10,368 9,405 9,298 9,878 -5.9%
November 9,334 8,733 9,628 8,893 8,860 9,147 -3.1%
December 9,328 8,645 9,909 8,973 8,691 9,214 -5.7%
Evolution
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.

Metadata