Immigration drove Belgium's population growth in 2023

The population of Belgium was 11,763,650 on 1 January 2024, an increase of 66,093 inhabitants (0.57 per cent) compared with the previous year. The growth is due to immigration, as the country's natural balance is negative, according to official figures from the Belgian statistical office Statbel.

Belgium recorded positive population growth in 2023. This is due to a positive international migration balance (+66,349), the difference between the number of immigrants and emigrants.

Ukrainian refugees are one of the driving forces behind the positive migration figures. "The war in Ukraine still has a positive impact on the international migration balance in 2023, although it is much less pronounced than in 2022," says Statbel.

Negative natural balance

Belgium's population grew while more deaths than births were recorded. That is known as a negative natural balance. This used to be rare: before the COVID-19 pandemic, the last negative natural balance was in the 1940s.

This is mainly due to a decreasing trend in the number of births, a trend that started before the pandemic, but also to an increasing trend in the number of deaths due to ageing. In 2023, there were 110,198 births and 111,255 deaths.

"The natural balance has been on a downward trend for several years, so that a negative natural balance seems to be becoming the new normal," the statistical office reports.



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Belgium's population grows by 113,000 due to international migration
Belgium saw its population increase by more than 113,000 over the past year, to a total of 11,697,557 inhabitants, Statbel's latest data shows...

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