Brussels more populated than ever, but growth is slowing down

Brussels more populated than ever, but growth is slowing down
Brussels streets. Credit: Jilke Tielemans/The Brussels Times

Brussels has never been as populated as it is now, however, the growth in the region’s population is at one of its lowest points.

Last year, there was an increase of just over 1,700 new residents, from 1,218,255 in 2020 to 1,219,970 in 2021, the smallest increase in more than two decades, according to the Brussels Institute for Statistics and Analysis (IBSA).

“The region has never been so populated. Nevertheless, during the year 2020, the population increase was very small with just 1,700 new people. This is the lowest population growth since 1998,” the institute told La Capitale.

In comparison, between 2011 and 2012, the population grew by almost 20,000 people.

Not all municipalities in the region registered a population growth, as the number of residents living in Schaerbeek, Etterbeek, Forest and Ixelles, among others, declined since the start of 2020.

The pandemic has resulted in an increase in the mortality rate of 23% between 2019 and 2020, while the trend of fewer babies being born in the region has continued, as just 15,847 babies were born in the Brussels-Capital Region, according to figures from Statbel. 

“The year 2020 is therefore characterised by a significantly lower natural balance than in the previous decade,” the institute stated.

However, in comparison with Flanders and Wallonia, which has a larger ageing population than Brussels – where people aged over 65 represent just 13% of the population, in comparison to minors, who make up almost a fourth of all residents – the natural balance remained positive.


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