A statistical overview of the Belgian population
On 1 January 2016, the population of Belgium was 11,267,910. That number is fairly evenly distributed between the sexes, although women outnumber men by approximately 200,000. The population density is 363 people per km2 (2015), although the north of the country is much more densely populated than the south.
The 18-64 age group, i.e. largely the working population, numbers 6,919,768 and accounts for the bulk of the population. 2,062,561 Belgian residents are aged over 64. Within this group, 1,860 people are 100 or older. The number of people aged 18 or under is 2,285,581. The age pyramid (French - Dutch) clearly indicates an ageing population.
In 2011, the life expectancy was 77 for men and 82 for women. In 2013, the number of deaths was 109,295. Most of these were natural deaths (102,475). Cardiovascular disease was the second biggest cause of mortality (31,308). Cancer was responsible for 28,717 deaths, while respiratory diseases claimed the lives of 11,363 people.
In 2013, there were also 124,864 births. The fertility rate was 1.74 children per woman in 2014. The fertility rate of non-Belgian women living in Belgium (2.32) is significantly higher than that of Belgian women.
As regards marital status, 4,255,406 of Belgium’s inhabitants are married (2016). 685,451 people have lost their partner and 1,011,113 people are divorced. At the end of 2010, approximately 180,000 people were living together under a cohabitation contract (legal cohabitation). This group also includes siblings who have entered into a cohabitation agreement. Between 2003 and the end of 2010, some 17,000 men and women entered into a same-sex marriage. In 2008, there were 4,822,301 households in Belgium, of which 1,646,553 were single-person households.
There are 953,329 couples without children. Couples with children number 1,057,481 (2015 figures).
The distribution of Belgium’s residents by region is as follows (2016): 6,477,804 live in the Flemish Region, 3,602,216 live in the Walloon Region (including 75,222 from the German-speaking Community (2010)) and 1,187,890 reside in the Brussels-Capital Region.
1,057,666 inhabitants are of a different nationality (i.e. not Belgian) (2010). In 2015, French were the largest group of non-Belgian nationality, numbering 159,352, followed by Italians and Dutch nationals, who numbered 156,977 and 149,199 respectively. Moroccans were in fourth position, with 82,009, followed by Poles (68,403).
The figures in this text are based on statistics from the Directorate-General Statistics and Economic Information. On the website, you will find a wealth of detailed statistics about the Belgian population. Data are available for the country as a whole and for each region. In most cases, the latest data are presented alongside data from previous years, to give a clear idea of the trend. Some statistics also include links to more specific statistics on the same subject. As well as the topics addressed above, you will also find statistics on:
- the most popular boys’ and girls’ names
- the most common surnames
- the municipalities with the largest populations
- population projections
- the average age of the population
- the trend in average age at marriage