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Population by age and gender

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Flemish age pyramid has wide top and narrow base

The population pyramid of the Flemish Region in 2023 showed the typical profile of an ageing population: a wide top and a narrow base.

The 55-59 age group is the largest age group in the . These are men and women born between 1963 and 1967, the peak years of the baby boom.

The age group of centenarians at the top of the pyramid counts more than 1,500 members. The broader age group of over-85s accounts for 3.3% of the total population.

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

Overall, there were more women than men in the Flemish Region in the beginning of 2023: 102 women per 100 men. Among the older population, the prevalence of women was even greater. There were 120 women per 100 men among the over-65s, 180 women per 100 men among the over-85s and 342 women per 100 men among the centenarians.

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

Since 2000, the share of the population aged 65 and over has risen from 17% in 2000 to 18% in 2010 and 21% in 2023. The share of those younger than18 fell from 21% in 2000 to 19% in 2023. The share of the broad middle group (18-64 years old) also decreased: from 63% in 2000 to 59% in 2023.

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 2023, there were 79 young adults per 100 seniors; in 2000, there were 116 young adults per 100 seniors.

In most coastal municipalities a third of the population is over 65 years

In 160 out of 300 municipalities in the Flemish Region, the proportion of the population aged 65 and above is between 18% and 22% in 2023. In more than 4 out of 10 municipalities, the proportion of older people in the population was even higher.

In 7 out of 10 coastal municipalities, the over-65s make up more than 33% of the population. Also in Sint-Martens-Latem, Horebeke, Veurne, Schilde, Zoersel, Brasschaat, Keerbergen, Hove, Aartselaar, Zandhoven and Damme 25% or more of the population is 65 years and older. The share of over-65s was lowest in Machelen, Vilvoorde, Drogenbos, Antwerp, Zaventem, Spiere-Helkijn, Ghent, Niel, Leuven and Boom with less than 17%.

In general, the population is somewhat more aged 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.

Share of over-65s and over-85s in the Flemish Region in line with EU average

The proportion of over-65s in the in the Flemish Region (20.9%) was close to the EU27 average in 2022 (21.1%). Due to the younger population of the Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium (19.5%) scored somewhat lower. The highest proportion of over-65s was found in Italy (23.8%), the lowest in Luxembourg (14.8%).

The proportion of over-85s in the usually resident population was 3.2% in the Flemish Region in 2022, which was slightly above the EU27 average (3%). Also in this respect the Flemish Region ranked above the other two Belgian regions. Belgium (2.9%) ranked 7th among the European Member States. The highest proportion of over-85s was registered in Italy (3.8%), the lowest in Slovakia (1.5%).

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