The Brussels Region expects to record its first decrease in residents in a quarter of a century, reporting 3,000 fewer inhabitants in the Belgian capital in 2020, according to demographic forecasts from the Federal Planning Bureau and Statbel, shared by Brussels Minister Sven Gatz.
The forecasts take into account the impact of the coronavirus crisis on population trends.
The causes of the decrease are excess mortality and the decline of international migration flows in 2020 due to the closing of the European borders, according to the Brussels Institute for Statistics and Perspective Analysis (BISA).
International migrations have been the driving force behind the growth of the Brussels population for the past twenty years.
From 2021 onwards, the population is expected to increase again due to the expected revival of these international migrations once the coronavirus pandemic is brought under control.
When it comes to migration between the Brussels Region and the rest of Belgium, a lack of statistical data makes it difficult to accurately assess trends.
The provisional mortality figures for Brussels point to an increase of more than 2,000 deaths in 2020, which is 20% higher compared to 2019.
The months of April and November had particularly high rates.
According to the population projections, excess mortality should be significantly lower in 2021 and return to normal from 2022 onwards.
The number of births during 2020 wasn’t affected by Covid-19. From 2021 onwards, however, regional forecasts show a slight decline in the birthrate.
Because of the health crisis, it’s expected that more plans for family formation or extension were postponed or cancelled than usual.