The average Belgian lost on average 64 days of life expectancy in 2015. The country’s life expectancy was 80.9 years at birth, according to mortality figures published Thursday by DG Statistique of SPF Économie. This decline is however not unprecedented, with a similar situation having occurred in 2012.
Segregated by sex, life expectancy was 83.16 last year for women and 78.55 for men. Flanders was once again the region where people lived longest (81.79 years), followed by Brussels (80.86) and finally Wallonia (79.26). The downturn of 2015 was more limited in the Brussels-Capital Region, with residents of the capital losing only 20 days of life expectancy.
In 2012 the longevity of Belgians had already gone down. But in the past 20 years, “average annual progress remained high and above two months (67 days),” stated DG Statistique. In fact, “the tri-annual tables allow observing that the decline of this year does not radically change the longer-term trend, which remains positive in net terms,” was the appeasing statement of the DG.
Prior to an analysis of the causes of mortality, it is still difficult to identify the subjacent reasons for this slight decline. The fact stands out however that women are the ones paying the price with an “earlier death” by 123 days, in contrast with only one day for men. The gap in longevity between men (78.55 years) and women (83.16) is thus following its gradual reduction which began in the mid-1990s.
From a geographical perspective, according to the tri-annual table of 2013-2015, it is in the Flemish Brabant where people live the longest (82.04 years) and in Hainaut where people die earliest (at 78.46 years). Foreign nationals living in Belgium live on average several months more than natives, but once again, the trend is for this gap to become smaller.