Belgium Demographics

What is the population of Belgium?

Population 11,720,716
Population Growth Rate 0.05%
Urban Population 97.5%
Population in Major Urban Areas BRUSSELS (capital) 1.949 million; Antwerp 959,000
Nationality Noun Belgian(s)
Nationality Adjective Belgian
Ethnic Groups Fleming 58%, Walloon 31%, mixed or other 11%
Languages Spoken Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%, legally bilingual (Dutch and French)
Language Note Belgium has two official languages: Flemish, which is a form of Dutch, and French. Flemish is spoken in the northern region known as Flanders. French is spoken in the southern region known as Wallonia. As a result of having two languages, many cities have two or three names, and some Belgians cannot speak with other Belgians. The language is also reflected in the media, which offers both French and Flemish versions of TV, news, and radio. Many Belgians speak more than one language and are therefore sought after as employees for international companies.

Belgium Learning

What is school like in Belgium?

Education Culture

Belgians greatly value education. It is often more important to use family finances to send children to study at a university than to take a family holiday. Because schooling is free in Belgium between the ages of 6 and 18, almost all the adult population is able to read and write. The government funds both public and private schools, and many students attend schools run by religious groups.

Language differences affect the educational system, depending on the region. Classes are either taught in Flemish or French.

The oldest institution of higher education in Belgium is the Catholic University of Louvain. It is famous for its library, which contains materials from the middle ages.

Belgium Health Information

What are the health conditions in Belgium?

Contraceptive Prevalence Rate - female 15-49 70.4%
Contraceptive Prevalence - note Note: percent of women aged 18-49
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 10.7
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 100%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 100%
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 10.6%
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.2%
HIV/Aids Deaths 90
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population 6.5
Infant Mortality Rate - female deaths/1,000 live births 3.7
Infant Mortality Rate - male deaths/1,000 live births 4.73
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 4.23
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 8
Mean Age for Mother's First Birth 28
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 22.1%
People Living with HIV/AIDS 14,000
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population 3.78
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 100%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of rural population improved 100%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 1.65

Belgium Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Belgium?

Life Expectancy at Birth 79 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - female 83 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - male 76 Years
Median Age 42 Years
Median Age - female 44 Years
Median Age - male 41 Years

Belgium Infant Mortality - per 1,000 live births

Belgium median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 10
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 10.7
Median Age 42 Years
Median Age - female 44 Years
Median Age - male 41 Years
Net Migration Rate - migrant(s)/1,000 population 1.22
Population Growth Rate 0.05%
Sex Ratio 0-14 Years - male/female 1.04
Sex Ratio 15-24 Years - male/female 1.04
Sex Ratio 25-54 Years - male/female 1.02
Sex Ratio 55-64 Years - male/female .96
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.05
Sex Ratio of Total Population - male/female .96
Sex Ratio Over 64 Years - male/female .72

Belgium Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Belgium?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

High-quality medical facilities are widely available in Belgium. The large university hospitals can handle almost every medical problem. Hospitals may not necessarily have staff members who are fluent in English. The Embassy's Consular Section maintains a list of English-speaking doctors. Equivalents for most, but not all, U.S. medications are available through local pharmacies with a prescription from a Belgian physician. Travelers to Belgium are encouraged to bring a sufficient supply of prescription medications for the duration of their stay.

Belgium Education

What is school like in Belgium?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 6.6%
Literacy - female 99%
Literacy - male 99%
Literacy - total population 99%
Literacy Definition Age 15 and over can read and write
School Life Expectancy - female 17 Years
School Life Expectancy - male 16 Years
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 16 Years

Belgium Literacy

Can people in Belgium read?

Literacy - female 99%
Literacy - male 99%
Literacy - total population 99%
Literacy Definition Age 15 and over can read and write
Predominant Language Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%, legally bilingual (Dutch and French)

Belgium Crime

Is Belgium a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

Although Belgium remains relatively free of violent crime, low-level street crime, such as muggings, purse snatchings, and pickpocketing is common, particularly in major cities. Thieves loiter in transportation hubs like the metro (subway) and train stations, notably the Gare du Midi, the primary international train hub in Brussels. They take advantage of disoriented or distracted travelers and watch for people who put their luggage down and are inattentive for even a moment. Be particularly vigilant in these areas. Keep your eyes on your belongings. On trains, don’t place valuables on overhead racks.

Thieves often operate in teams. Once they identify a target, they cause a distraction. One way to do this is to create a random commotion such as by dropping money, cell phones, or other objects on the ground. Another way is by bumping into or shoving the target, especially in crowds. Still another common method is for an accomplice to get the target’s attention by speaking to that person or asking to sign a petition while the partner carries out the theft. Be alert to distractions.

Thieves also operate in restaurants, bars, and hotels. Take appropriate caution in these locations. Don’t sit next to doors where thieves can reach in and grab a bag that is placed on a chair or on the floor next to it. Exercise good security and safety practices when selecting and checking into hotels. Ensure that rooms have door and window locks. When possible, select a room above the ground and first floors.

Another problem is theft from vehicles. Do not leave anything visible that might attract a thief, even while you are driving. Items left on the passenger front seat of a car are particularly vulnerable. Always drive with your windows up and the doors locked. Thieves will sometimes position themselves at traffic lights to scan for valuables in stopped cars. If they see a purse or other valuables, they break in and steal the item before you have time to react. If doors are locked, thieves may smash the window to steal. Use parking garages when possible, as they are generally more secure than street parking. When a parking garage is not available, look for a spot near a street light.

There have been instances of small groups of young men who prey on unwary tourists, usually at night in the Brussels metro (subway). These thieves typically seek small, high-value items such as smartphones and MP3 players. You should carry only a minimum amount of cash, credit cards, and necessary personal identification (see Special Circumstances, below, for acceptable forms of identification). We advise against wearing expensive jewelry and watches.

Scammers have victimized U.S. citizens around the world, including in Belgium. A common scam involves an Internet friend or partner who is reported to have been detained by immigration authorities in Belgium en route to the United States and will not be released unless additional funds are paid to the “traveler” for Belgian customs fees. In every case, these reports have been determined to be confidence schemes. Several U.S. citizens have lost tens of thousands of dollars in such scams. Funds transferred in response to such offers can rarely be recovered. Information on fraud schemes can be found in the Department of State's International Financial Scams brochure. Although the scammers are pretending to be distressed U.S.-citizen travelers stranded in Belgium, it is important to realize that the scammers are, in fact, most likely not in Belgium. The point of the scam is to make the target believe that the message is coming from Belgium when it is really coming from another country. U.S.citizens in the United States who have been victimized by Internet crime should report it to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center. U.S. citizens present in Belgium who have been victimized should contact the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Brussels (Telephone 011-32-2-811-4057). Depending on the circumstances, the Regional Security Office can then direct you to the appropriate Belgian, United States, or international law enforcement agency.

Belgium Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Belgium, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own, and criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. For instance, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children, or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Belgium, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.

Persons violating Belgian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in Belgium are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Belgium, you have the right to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the U.S. Embassy of your arrest, and to have communications from you forwarded to the Embassy.

Arrest notifications in Belgium: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.

Belgium Population Comparison

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