The reason for the fall in the number of births is a fall in the total fertility rate. More and more women are putting off having children. This trend is especially pronounced in the group of woman between 20 and 29 years of age. Only among women over 35 did the fertility rate rise during 2012.
However, although the fertility rate among young women has never been lower, that doesn’t mean that families are getting smaller. The number of third children being born increased during 2012.
The number of young children between the ages of 3 and 12 also went up again last year and is now at its highest level since 2002. This will place extra strain on kindergartens and schools.
Almost one in four new-born children in our region comes from a household where another language is normally spoken than Dutch. However, this doesn’t mean that the parents don’t speak Dutch at all. Around 20% of mothers of new-born children in Flanders were not Belgian nationals when they were born.
Mothers with Moroccan, Turkish and Dutch nationality form the largest groups of foreign mothers. In Antwerp, almost a third of mothers of new-born children are foreign nationals. The most frequently spoken other languages used in Flemish households are French, Arabic and Turkish.
The number of children being born into a disadvantaged family rose by 0.7% in 2012. The percentage of disadvantaged families is highest in Antwerp and Limburg provinces.
The good news is that the number of cot deaths has fallen as has the number of fatal accidents involving children.