Brussels: 56.5% immigrant population

56.5% of the population in Brussels is of foreign origin. In 1961 it was barely 7.3%.

"That is an impressive and unique evolution in a European of even world perspective," according to sociologist Jan Hertogen.

According to his calculations, in 1991, 28.5% of the Brussels population was of foreign nationality, in addition to 4.5% naturalized or new Belgians. In 2005 the total number of foreigners stabilized on 26.3%, but the total number of new Belgians grew to 30.2%.

According to news reports yesterday, the "Fast-Belgian" law, which allows for naturalization after being in the country legally for seven years, allowed for 337,904 people to get Belgian citizenship till the end of 2006. The law came into effect May 1st, 2000. That's an average 4,277 a month.

In Flanders, 128,682 people got Belgian citizenship, with the following breakdown:
Antwerp - 32,580 new Belgians
Ghent - 13,395
Mechelen - 4,851
Sint-Niklaas - 2,029
Lokeren - 1,817
Brugge - 1,272
Dendermonde - 528

The Brussels Region has 114,583 new Belgians and Wallonia has 94,639.

Source: HLN 1, 2 (Dutch)

See also: Belgium: Vlaams Belang's lose accounted by immigrant vote


Evan said...

A huge number of these people are presumably EU and NATO functionaries.

Esther said...

Hi Evan,

30.2% hold Belgian citizenship, so they are definitely immigrants who have been naturalized.

Now the question is how those 26.3% split up. That's a good question.. I would assume that there is a significant portion among those who are immigrants.

The reason being that there is a high rate of marriage migration in Belgium among both Turkish and Moroccan immigrants, and these new immigrants would not have Belgian citizenship.

Also, it's a question whether there are now many more EU and NATO functionaries in Brussels than there were in 1961 (comparatively to the city size).

Evan said...

The EU, I think, is much bigger now than in 1961. NATO may or may not be. (More members, but a smaller mission.)

Are the "new Belgians" primarily from Africa, Araby and so on, or are some significant fraction of them from other EU countries? If a full 30.2 percent of the population - the new Belgians - plus some significant fraction of "foreigners "- a quarter of 26.3%, or about 8.6 percentage points, say - are from the usual restive backgrounds, that means that they already constitute almost 40% of the Brussels population. That all new Belgians are non-European is a liberal assumption, but that only a quarter of foreigners are is perhaps conservative. Can 40% for the total population be right? (I haven't been there in years.)

Esther said...

Hi Evan,

The EU is bigger, but so is Brussels ;-)

It is a fair assumption that 99% of New Belgians are *not* from the EU, for the simple reason that there is no real incentive for a EU member to acquire Belgian citizenship. I think it made the news that four Dutch citizens received Belgian citizenship, or vice versa.

According to Dutch news reports, there is a large amount of Congolese and Moroccans, along with a fair sized EU workers population.

I had read somewhere in the past that there are 40% immigrants in Brussels, but I am not sure where that was.