Roughly one in eight residents in Belgium is a foreigner, while one in five has a foreign background, according to figures from the government’s official statistics office Statbel.
From a population of 11.5 million people on 1 January, 7.8 million are Belgian through and through, born in Belgium to two Belgian parents.
Of the rest 1.43 million are foreigners, born in another country to foreign parents. Between the two are 2.26 million people born here to parents from another country.
The number of simple Belgians has gone down since 2010 from 75% to 68%; those of foreign nationality went from 10% to 12%, and those with a foreign background went from 16% to 20%.
In that ten years between 2010 and 2020, 633,000 people were added to the population register who were originally from another country.
Within the country, the regions differ. In Brussels, only one in four residents is a full Belgian – meaning the person and both parents were originally registered as Belgian. The rest either have a foreign background – one or other parent was initially registered as non-Belgian – or are themselves immigrants – initially registered as born elsewhere.
In 2010, the number of Belgian-born was two-thirds.
In Wallonia, one in three is either foreign or of foreign origins. In Flanders the number is one in four. The figure of 25% in Flanders, meantime, has gone up from 16% ten years ago.
Considering those new Belgians with a non-Belgian background, one in five traces their origins to a neighbouring country (Germany, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom), 28% from the rest of the UK and just over half from elsewhere.
In Wallonia, the largest group (39.6%) is from the EU27, while in Flanders the largest group (56.9%) is from outside the EU.
The Brussels Times