For a number of years middle class residents have been observed leaving the Belgian capital to live further out in the periphery. However, a recent survey carried out by Brussels Studies, reveals that Brussels poorer working classes also decide to leave Brussels for various reasons. This group amount to 30% of the citizens who decide to move outside Brussels. Economic insecurity and high accommodation costs are quoted as their main reasons for departing.
According to the study, 39,124 Brussels residents left the city in 2016 for one of the other two regions in the country, while 24,381 residents from Flanders and Wallonia decided to move into Brussels.
“The growth of Brussels population that has been observed in recent years is mainly due to international immigration as well as to births from a population on average younger than in the rest of the country”, says Sarah De Laet, author of the study and geographer at the ULB.
In fact this move leave Brussels is not new at all. The Brussels authorities have been grappling for a number of years with Brussels’ middle class “exodus” (44% of the departures). Since the middle class is an important tax contributor, this poses major concerns. However, today the authorities also need to take into account the poorer groups leaving the city, De Laet says to De Redactie.
These households have mainly settled in the peri-urban areas of Brussels, especially to the north of the city but also in former industrial areas such as the Dendre, Haine and Sambre regions. Some of them also move to Charleroi or to blue collar neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Antwerp.