66,560 babies were born in Flanders last year
Last year no fewer than 66,560 babies were born in Flanders. This is almost 3,000 more babies than were born here in 2020. The increase of more than 3,000 births is the largest increase in the number of babies born in our region in 20 years.
Diederik Vancoppenolle of the Flemish Government Agency ‘Opgroeien’ (growing up) told journalists that "The coronavirus epidemic may have caused families to postpone their plans to have children in 2020 and wait until the end of the pandemic was in sight".
Last year’s mini baby boom saw 4.6% more babies being born in Flanders last year compared with 2020.
In its report the 'Opgroeien' agency notes that "In recent years, the birth rate has mostly been falling; an increase of this magnitude has not been recorded in the past 20 years.”
The increase was most pronounced in East Flanders (+7%) and Antwerp Province (+5.4%). The increase was smaller than average in Flemish Brabant (+4%), Limburg Province (+2.5%) and West Flanders (+2.3%).
As in previous years slighly more boys (51%) were born than girls (49%). The number of children born prematurely increased to 7.7% from 7.4% in 2020. However, the number of children born very prematurely remained stable.
Mother-tongue and nationality
In addition to birth rates, ‘Opgroeien’ also looked at the langue spoken by the mother to her baby. In 70.6% of cases this was Dutch. However, there are big differences between the 5 Flemish provinces.
In Flemish Brabant, 45.1% of mothers speak another language than Dutch to their baby. In Antwerp Province this is 31.7%. This is 26% in East Flanders, 21.4% in Limburg Province and 19.2% in West Flanders.
French is the other language most widely spoken by mothers to their babies (6.5%), followed by Arabic (3.9%) and Turkish (2.3%).
29.6% of the children born in 2021 have a mother that was not born a Belgian national. This is down 0.5% on the figures from 2020.