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Contents

Summary

This chapter presents an overview of general (all ages), premature (below 75 years old), and infant (below one year old) mortality in Belgium. All-cause and cause-specific mortality are analyzed for general and premature mortality.

General mortality

In 2022, 116,380 deaths were observed in Belgium. The age-adjusted mortality rate in 2022 was higher than in 2021, it decreased in men and increased in women compared to 2021. The age-adjusted mortality rate in 2022 was 1.4 times higher in men than in women. Geographical disparities were observed, with lower age-standardized mortality rates in the Flemish region for both men and women.

Causes of death 

In 2020, tumours and cardiovascular diseases are still the main groups of causes of death. Tumours became the main cause of death in women, as was already the case for men since 2014. The main cause of death in 2020 was COVID-19, followed by ischemic heart diseases in men and by dementia and Alzheimer in women. 

Premature mortality

In 2022, the age-adjusted premature mortality rate was 335 per 100,000 inhabitants in Belgium, a decrease compared to 2021. The decrease between 2010 and 2022 was more pronounced among men (-17%) than among women (-9%). Over time, the age-adjusted premature mortality rate is much higher in men than in women. Over time, large regional and district disparities in age-adjusted premature mortality rates are present in Belgium. Belgium scored poorly in terms of premature mortality rates among EU-15 countries in 2018.

Causes of premature mortality 

In 2020, the conditions with the highest burden in terms of years of life lost before 75 years are suicide, COVID-19, and lung cancer in men, and breast cancer, lung cancer, and COVID-19 in women. For most conditions, the premature mortality rates decreased between the years 2010 and 2020, except for lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among women.

The causes contributing most to the higher premature mortality rates in the Walloon Region and in the Brussel Capital Region compared to the Flemish Region are COVID-19 and ischemic heart disease in men and COVID-19 and COPD in women.

Infant mortality

In 2021, the infant mortality rate was 2.9 per thousand live births. Infant mortality has sharply declined over the last decennia in Belgium. Rates and trends are similar in the Flemish Region and in the Walloon Region.