Birth rate in Flanders hits 20-year low

The birth rate in Flander fell by 1 per cent last year to its lowest level in 20 years, the childcare agency Opgroeien announced on Friday.

In 2023, women in the region gave birth to 63,030 babies, 656 fewer than in 2022. The birth rate fell in every Flemish province except Antwerp, where it rose slightly by 0.5 per cent. Limburg recorded the largest decrease of 2.2 per cent.

According to the figures, more than 70 per cent of babies had a mother aged between 25 and 35 at birth. More than 16 per cent had a mother aged between 35 and 40. The proportion of births to mothers under 20 (0.9 per cent) or over 40 (3.6 per cent) remained stable.

The birth rate in Flanders has been declining since 2011, with the exception of 2021, when there was an increase of 4.6 per cent. The overall decline is not due to the lower number of women aged 20 to 40. Women simply had fewer children last year than in 2022, the figures show.

Countries around the world are struggling with falling birth rates. Research predicts that three-quarters of countries will fall below the population replacement birth rate by 2050. Experts say this could have a profound effect on the global economy.


#FlandersNewsService | © PHOTO LOIC VENANCE / AFP

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