Fewer children born in Flanders in 2017

According to figures released by the Flemish Children’s Agency, 65,000 children were born in Flanders during 2017. This is 2.2% fewer than in 2016. A fall in the number of births was recorded in all 5 Flemish provinces. The fall in the birth rate was most pronounced in West Flanders (-4.5%) and Limburg (-3.8%).  

The figure of 65,308 births recorded by Kind en Gezin in 2017 in the five provinces that make up the Flemish Region was 1,495 down of the number record in 2016. With the exception of a slight rise in 2016, the birthrate has been going down in Flanders since 2011. Compared with 2011 there were almost 5,000 fewer children born. The 2017 birth rate is now at the same level as in 2005.  

More boys than girls

More boys than girls were born in 2017 (51.1% as against 48.9%). 44.2% of children born were first-born children. 35.6% were second-born. 71.1% of babies were born to mothers between 25 and 35 years of age. 1.2% had a mother younger than 20 and 2.9% of new mother were over 40.   

More mothers with foreign roots

28.1% of the children born in 2017 have a mother that didn’t have Belgian nationality when she was born. This is 1.7% more up on 2016.  

The largest groups are mothers with Moroccan (4.6%), Dutch (2.1%) and Turkish (1.9%) nationality or roots.

The fact that a mother a had different nationality when she was born doesn’t necessarily mean that she is a migrant. Many woman in this group have lived here all their lives.


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