Population by age and gender

  • Flemish age pyramid has wide top and narrow base

    The population pyramid of the Flemish Region in 2020 shows the typical profile of an ageing population: a wide top and a narrow base.

    The 55 to 59 year olds constitute the largest age group in the legal population. These are men and women born between 1960 and 1965, the peak years of the baby boom.

    The age group of centenarians at the top of the pyramid counts almost 1,000 members. The broader age group of over-85s accounts for 3.2% of the total population.

    The youngest age group at the base of the pyramid is remarkably smaller than the age group of 5-9 year olds. This shrinkage refers to the declining number of births in recent years.

    Overall, there are more women than men in the Flemish Region: 102 women per 100 men. Among the older population, the prevalence of women is much greater. There are 121 women per 100 men among the over-65s, 187 women per 100 men among the over-85s and 505 women per 100 men among the centenarians.

  • The Flemish population is ageing: 1 in 5 is over 65

    Since the turn of the century, the share of the legally resident population aged 65 and over has risen from 17% in 2000 to 18% in 2010 and to 20% in 2020. The share of under-18s fell from 21% in 2000 to 19% in 2020. The share of the broad middle group (18-64 years old) also decreased: from 63% in 2000 to 60% in 2020.

    The age group of 18-24 year olds (potential flow of 'young adults' into the labour market) is  noticeably smaller than the age group of 58-64 year olds (potential flow of 'seniors' out of the labour market). In 2020, there are 82 young adults per 100 seniors; in 2000, there were 116 young adults per 100 seniors.

  • In most coastal municipalities a quarter of the population is over 65

    In 7 out of 10 municipalities in the Flemish Region, the proportion of the population aged 65 and over is between 18% and 22%. In 2 out of 10 municipalities, the proportion of elderly in the population is even higher.

    In 8 out of 10 coastal municipalities, the over-65s make up a quarter of the population. This is also the case in Herstappe, Horebeke, Sint-Martens-Latem and Aartselaar. The share of over-65s is lowest in Spiere-Helkijn, Machelen and Vilvoorde, with less than 16% of the population over 65.

    In general, the population is somewhat grey in the province of West Flanders, in the Flemish Ardennes, in southern Flemish Brabant and parts of Limburg, as well as in municipalities on the eastern side of the city of Antwerp.

    In the large central cities of Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven and Mechelen, the proportion of older people is relatively limited (less than 18% of the population over 65).

  • Share of over-65s Flemish Region in line with EU average, over-85s above it

    The proportion of over-65s in the usually resident population in the Flemish Region was close to the EU28 average in 2019 (20%). Belgium (19%) ranked 19th among the European Member States. The highest proportion of over-65s was found in Italy (23%), the lowest in Ireland (14%).

    The proportion of over-85s in the usually resident population was 3.1% in the Flemish Region in 2019, which was slightly above the EU28 average (2.8%). In this respect, too, the Flemish Region ranked above the other two Belgian regions. Belgium (2.9%) ranked 6th among the European Member States. The highest proportion of over-85s was registered in Italy (3.6%), the lowest in Slovakia (1.5%).


Statistics Flanders: State of the population 
Statbel: Population 
Eurostat: Database 


Usually resident population: The population with their usual residence in the country as published by the European Statistical Office, Eurostat. Persons registered on the waiting register for asylum seekers are not included. 
Legally resident population: The population registered in the National Register as published by the Belgian Statistical Office Statbel. These are residents with a right of permanent residence or establishment in Belgium or with a right of temporary residence in the country. Persons registered in the waiting register for asylum seekers are not included. 

Publication date

3 November 2020

Next update

July 2021

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