Brussels population growth caused by influx of EU citizens, study shows

Brussels population growth caused by influx of EU citizens, study shows
Credit: Belga

Over 55% of the growth of Brussels’ population between 2000 and 2018 is due to EU citizens mainly from new member states, new data has shown

However, since 2016 a stabilization of the number of European nationals in the capital of Belgium has also been seen, according to a data analysis of their presence, as residents, published in the region’s electronic journal of “Brussels Studies” (No. 138) on Monday, by Geographer Charlotte Casier, University of Brussels. 

The study shows in particular that EU citizens (excluding Belgium) accounted last year for 275,000 people in the Brussels-Capital Region, 23% of 1.2 million people who are officially domiciled there. 

According to the geographer, who based her conclusions on data from the National Registry and the Brussels Institute for Statistics and Analysis, over 55% of the growth in Brussels’ population is due to EU foreigners — the number of inhabitants rose from 960,000 to 1,200,000 between 2000 and 2018. 

It has almost doubled, increasing from 145,000 to 275,000. The share of European citizens in the population of the capital has gone from 15% to 23%. 

Apart from the Greeks and the British, all various national groups have increased, the new Member States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Malta, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia) growing faster than the others. 

European citizens in Brussels present a characteristic structure of young adult populations, which influences that of the entire region: Europeans between 25 and 54 are over-represented, compared to other age groups. It’s also a fairly gender-balanced population, but this varies according to nationality. For example, Brussels’ residents from new member states are generally young and mostly women. The feminization of the nationalities would be, according to the author, related to a major emigration of young qualified women. 

However, this feminization is offset by the marked increase in the proportion of men among the Poles, Bulgarians and especially Romanians (many more). Nationals from these countries were introduced via two low-skilled sectors in particular: cleaning for women and construction for men. 

Overall, EU citizens are distributed within the city in a concentric logic and by sector. They are more numerous in the centre and Brussels closest urban ring, and also in the East and Southeast of the city especially. Their share can reach up to 40% of the population in the districts east of the Pentagon between Louise Avenue and Ambiorix Square. 

The French prefer the south, whereas the Poles, Romanians and Bulgarians reside more in the western districts of Brussels.

The Brussels Times

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