In 2018, the life expectancy (LE) at birth in Belgium was 81.5 years, which is an increase of 3.7 years since 2000. Belgium is however ranking quite poor among the EU-15 countries. Flanders has the highest life expectancy at birth (82.3), followed by Brussels (81.5), and Wallonia (79.9).
With 83.7 years of life expectancy, women exceed the male life expectancy of 79.2 years by 4.5 years. This considerable gender gap is decreasing over time. The LE remained stable in women since 2016, the improvements in the global LE observed are only due to a LE increase in men. The life expectancy also reveals an important socio-economic gradient, with better outcomes in higher than in lower educated people.
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.