Brussels Population 2019

Brussels, or the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium, is an area that is made up of 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels. The city is located in the center of the region and includes the historic town and other surrounding areas. As of 2016, the population of the Brussels metro area is 2.061 million.

Brussels consists of 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels that is the de jure capital of Belgium. The city proper had a population of over 176,000 as of 2016, while the larger metro area has a population of over 2 million. Brussels is a de facto capital of the European Union, and it is a major center for international politics.

Brussels Demographics

Brussels has a population of over 2 million spread across 19 municipalities. Approximately 30% of the population are foreigners that were not born in Belgium. The majority of immigrants come to Brussels from other parts of the European Union, although steady immigration from outside of the EU has continued through the years.

Brussels has a large concentration of Muslims from Turkey and Morocco, with some estimates placing the city population of Muslims as high as 25%. Most residents have no religious affiliation, and for those that do practice, Roman Catholicism is the religion of choice. About 10% of Catholics in Brussels regularly attend church services. Minority faiths practiced in the area include Buddhism, Judaism, Anglicanism and Islam.

Brussels is a multilingual city that speaks both Dutch and France. Dutch was the primary language of the city until Belgium declared its independence in the 18th century.

The average age in Brussels is 37 years old.

Brussels has seen population booms over the years, and future estimates show that the increase in population is expected to resume because of immigration and an increasing birth rate. Brussels is also a popular tourism spot because of its abundance of greenspace and parks, cultural events, museum and historic landmarks. The majority of residents living in Brussels work in the services industry, and the area has expertise in such areas as banking, chocolate and beer making and pharmaceutical research.

Brussels History

Evidence of settlement of Brussels came in the form of the building of a chapel at the river Senne in 859. However, the first recorded reference didn’t come until 695. It is believed that Brussels was officially founded in approximately 979, when Duke Charles of Lower Lotharingia constructed the first fortification of the city.

In the 1100s, marshes were drained to allow for expansion to accommodate 30,000 residents. The first city walls were constructed in the 13th century, which set into motion a time of steady and rapid growth. Additional city walls were built later in the century for all of the growth that was being seen in the area.

During the 15th century, Brussels was named as the Princely Capital of the Low Countries and the city began to flourish. In 1695, Brussels saw great destruction when an attack was ordered by King Louis XIV of France. The event destroyed one-third of the buildings in the city. Brussels was captured by France in 1746 but was returned to Austria in 1749. Brussels was annexed by France in 1795, and at that time, was the capital of the Department of Dyle. In 1815, the city became part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Belgian Revolution began in 1830 and Brussels gained its independence, which led to a period of change, including covering over the river Senne which had become a health hazard and erecting buildings to build up the city.

During World War II, the area was invaded but luckily, there was not a lot of destruction that had occurred. When the war was over, the city went through a period of modernization. The Brussels Metro was opened in 1976 and modern buildings were built. Unfortunately, many historic buildings were torn down in the process and newer buildings that clashed with their surroundings were erected. Following constitutional reform in 1988, the Brussels-Capital Region was created in 1989, making it one of three federal regions in the country.

Brussels Population Growth

Brussels population is expected to remain steady over the next few years, as the birth rate continues to increase. Brussels is home to approximately 47,000 infants in 2016, a number that is expected to rise to over 56,000 by 2018. This calculates to an increase of 18.6% over the next two years. This, combined with immigration, will lead to a predicted 2020 population of 2.115 million, while the population in 2030 will be over 2.2 million.

Brussels Population in 2018Source: By Collectorofinsignia [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Brussels Population Data (Urban Area)

Year Population Growth Rate (%) Growth
Brussels Population Growth

Brussels's 2019 population is now estimated at 2,065,284. In 1950, the population of Brussels was 1,414,671. Brussels has grown by 62,843 since 2015, which represents a 0.78% annual change. These population estimates and projections come from the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. These estimates represent the Urban agglomeration of Brussels, which typically includes Brussels's population in addition to adjacent suburban areas.

Data Sources
  1. Brussels Institute for Statistics and Analysis - Population and demographic projections
  2. Brussels Studies - The population of Brussels: a demographic overview
  3. World Urbanization Prospects - United Nations population estimates and projections of major Urban Agglomerations

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