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August 2017 - Brussels: 10 extra residents a day during 2016

Brussels Institute for Statistics and Analysis (BISA) - In the spotlight - The movement of the Brussels population on an average day in 2016

The movement of the Brussels population on an average day in 2016



On 1 January 2016, the Brussels-Capital Region numbered 1,187,890 residents. As the population only grew by a mere 3,714 people during the year, the Brussels population stood at 1,191,604 residents on 1 January 2017. This is the smallest annual increase since the end of the 90s.
Yet that doesn’t mean that activity in the Brussels population decreased in comparison to the previous years. The lower figure masks many larger fluxes such as the 39,124 departures from the Brussels-Capital Region for Flanders and Wallonia, the 47,902 immigrations from abroad…

But what did that concretely mean on a day-to-day basis?

Methodology: daily average

The figures in the text correspond to the daily average: the total number of observations for each flux has been divided by 366 (which corresponds to the number of days in 2016). For the purpose of this particular exercise we’ll pretend in this edition of “In the Spotlight” that every flux contains the exact same observations for every day of the year 2016, which, in reality, would never be the case. Take the mortality rate for instance, which is invariably higher in winter than it is in the summer.

In other words, a day (24 hours) means an average day in the year 2016.

Two births for every death

The number of births was the first factor that contributed to the growth in the Brussels Region population:

  • During 2016, on average 49 new Brussels citizens were born every day, which works out at about one new Brussels arrival every half an hour.
  • As against that, also 25 people passed away every day. In other words, one Brussels resident died every hour.

So, generally speaking there were about twice as many births as deaths in the Brussels-Capital Region during 2016. As a result, the Brussels population grew in numbers.

Internal migration flows in favor of Flanders and Wallonia

  • On average, 37 Flemish or 30 Walloon citizens a day decided to set up home in the Brussels Region.
  • Yet, far more Brussels citizens, some 107 people in fact, left Brussels for what it was and moved to Flanders (65 people) or Wallonia (42 people) every day during 2016.

Internal migration meant that the Brussels-Capital Region lost 40 residents net a day in 2016.

Extensive international migration flows to and from Brussels

Brussels held greater appeal for people from abroad:

  • 131 people immigrated to Brussels from abroad every day.
  • As against that, there were also 104 people who left Brussels for abroad every day.

So, on an average day in 2016, there were about as many Brussels citizens who moved to other parts of the country as Brussels residents who moved abroad.

In total (sum of the numbers of international immigrations and emigrations) there were some 235 exchanges with other countries a day in 2016. The difference between international immigrations and emigrations in 2016 only resulted in 27 extra people a day.

10 residents net extra a day in 2016

The above shows that:

  • The Brussels population increased by 24 people a day because the number of births by far exceeded the number of deaths.
  • However, the various migration flows combined meant that Brussels lost 13 residents net each day:
    • In Belgium, Brussels seems to have lost some if its gloss as some 40 residents net each day moved to other parts of the country.
    • What typifies the year 2016 however is that this loss was not fully offset by the exchanges with abroad, which accounted for a mere net gain of 27 Brussels residents a day.

All these findings combined result in a net increase of 10 residents a day1. This allows us to conclude that, over the 366 days of the year 2016, the population grew by 3,714 people!

 Keen to find out more?

More figures on how the Brussels population evolved, on its characteristics in terms of age structure, nationalities, etc. can be found on the page dedicated to the theme Population.

This theme was updated with new figures at the end of July and now gives you the total population on 1 January 2017 and an initial snapshot of the population during the year 2016.

Make sure to check out these new figures!

[1] 24 people - 13 people = 11 people. The net daily growth of 10 people is merely due to a statistical adjustment. This is because it turned out that 1 outgoing movement a day too few had been counted during 2015, which meant that the population figure of 1 January 2016 had been overestimated by 317 people. To correct this, an statistical adjustment of about -1 person a day had to be applied.

Statistical adjustments?

Statistical adjustments reflect demographic events that took place during the previous year which were reported late, i.e. changes that were recorded after 1 March of year x but which took place during year x-1. In other words, they relate to events that took place during year x-1 which had not yet been logged in the National Register at the time the population movement data of year x-1 and the stock as per 1 January of year x were transferred to the Directorate-General Statistics - Statistics Belgium of the FPS Economy. For further details, please refer to the methodology under the theme “Population”.