In 2021, life expectancy at birth was 81.7 years, close to the level of 2019 (81.8 years). Life expectancy is higher among women (84.0 years) than among men (79.2 years). The Flemish Region has the highest life expectancy (82.7 years), followed by the Brussels Capital Region (81.3 years) and the Walloon Region (79.9 years). An important socio-economic gradient is present with better life expectancy in higher compared to lower socio-economic groups.
In 2018, 77% of the Belgian population rated their health to be good or very good. This proportion was higher in Flanders than in Wallonia or Brussels, but the difference between Flanders and Brussels was not significant. The quality of life, measured by the Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) score, was 0.79 (score from 0 to 1). The HRQoL score was higher in Flanders than in the other regions.
Both indicators of quality of life show that men rate their health slightly better than women, and that there is an important socio-economic gradient in quality of life, with persons from the highest socioeconomic level reporting better health than people from the lowest level.
In 2018, men aged 65 could expect to live 12.5 years without disability (Disability-Free Life Expectancy at 65 years, DFLE65) and women 12.4 years. Men rank at the EU-15 average, while women rank better. There are regional differences with highest DFLE in Flanders for men and in Brussels and Flanders for women.
DFLE by educational level shows a positive socioeconomic gradient, with DFLE increasing with educational level.