European migrants account for half of population growth in Brussels

The influx of newcomers from the other EU member states accounted for 55% of population growth in the Brussels-Capital Region between 2000 and 2018. The figures come from research carried out by Charlotte Casier of Brussels’ Francophone free university ULB. The research forms the basis of an article on the website of the Brussels regional news platform Bruzz.  Since 2016 the number of foreigners from other EU member states living in the capital has stabilised.

The presence of lion’s share of European Union institutions in Brussels continues to attract citizens of other EU member states to come and live and work in our capital city.

Currently around 275,000 people that officially reside in one of the 19 municipalities that make up the Brussels-Capital Region are nationals of another EU member state. This is 23% of all people living in Brussels.

The number of EU nationals rose sharply between 2000 and 2016. However, it has remained stable since 2016.       

Citizens of the new member states

Between 2000 and 2018 the population of the Brussels-Capital Region grew from 960,000 to 1,200,000, an increase of 25%. Charlotte Casier’s research shows that the growth in population can for the most part be attributed to immigration.

55% of the population growth has come about due to citizens of other EU countries opting to come and live here. Citizens of countries that have joined the EU since the 1990’s (The Baltic States, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Malta, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia) have had the biggest impact on migration to Brussels from other EU countries.      

The research found that there has been a big increase in the number of men from Poland, Romania and Bulgaria migrating to Brussels. Many of these work in unskilled jobs such as on building sites. Among migrants from the 24 other EU member states, the majority are young and female.  

Mainly in the centre and the south and east

The majority of the European migrants live in the centre of the city, in areas adjacent to the centre and in the suburban areas in the east and in the south of the city.

The exception to this are the Poles, Romanians and Bulgarians that are more prevalent in the west of the city. In some areas of Brussels such as the area around the Louizalaan and the area around the Ambiorixsquare they make up as much as 40% of the total population.