Belgium: Just Half of the Babies Born in 2020 Were To Belgian-Origin Mothers
According to data from the Belgian statistics agency Statbel, just half of the babies born in the country in 2020 were born to women of Belgian origin and Belgian nationality.
The statistical office stated that 23 per cent of the newborns in 2020 were born to a Belgian citizen mother born overseas and that another 25 per cent were born to those who had neither been born in Belgium nor had acquired Belgian nationality, leaving just 53 per cent of babies born to Belgian-origin women.
The fertility rate among Belgians is also reportedly significantly lower than foreign mothers, according to the Statbel figures, which place native Belgian women at a birthrate of 1.38 children per woman, while Belgian nationals of foreign origin stood at 1.54 children per woman, broadcaster RTBF reports.
The birthrate for foreign women born overseas and living in Belgium without Belgian nationality stands much higher at 2.05 children per woman, close to the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman.
The statistics are partially explained by the fact that migrant women are more represented in the 25-35 age demographic in Belgium, compared to native Belgians. Foreign women account for 16.5 per cent of all women of childbearing age but accounted for around a quarter of all births in 2020.
Belgium’s demographics have seen rapid shifts in recent years, to the point that a report from January noted that around a third of the Belgian population now comes from foreign backgrounds.
Among the younger age brackets, such as those under 17, native Belgians make up just over half of the population, while native Belgians comprise 87.3 per cent of those aged over 65.
Last year, Stabel noted that prior to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic in 2019, Belgium’s overall population growth had been driven almost entirely by immigration. Just eleven per cent of the population growth that year came from births.
Elsewhere in Europe, the pandemic year of 2020 has reduced the number of births to low levels, such as in Spain where the birthrate fell five per cent to just 1.19 children per woman, a rate not seen since the 1990s.
In Italy, the birthrate fell to an even lower rate with just 1.17 children born per woman with Italian citizenship, while the average birthrate among all residents was reported at just 1.24 children per woman.