According to official figures from Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, the legally resident population of Belgium was 11,376,070 on 1st January 2018, 51 % of which were women (or 5,778,164 in absolute figures) and 49 % were men (or 5,597,906), excluding the waiting register. The Belgian population has grown by 53,982 persons, or 0.50 % on a yearly basis. This growth rate is fully in line with the growth of previous years, which also fluctuated around half a percent.
Two demographic factors prompted the national population growth:
- 17.5 % of the population growth is due to a positive "natural balance", with more births than deaths (+9,473 persons in 2017)
- 82.5 % of the growth rate can be explained by the positive net migration: more immigrations than emigrations (+44,536 persons in 2017)
The most striking phenomenon in 2017 has a negative impact on the population growth: for the first time, the number of births has fallen below 120,000 (119,102). In 2016, 121,161 births were registered, and in 2010 more than 129,000 (129,173).
The decrease of the number of births in 2017 is also more pronounced than a year before: in 2016, the decrease seemed to slow down somewhat (-552 births compared to 2016). In 2017, the decrease is again larger (-2,059). This means that the downward trend is not yet coming to an end.
As in previous years, the figures for the regions vary widely.
- The population has increased by 36,956 persons (38,207 persons in 2016): again, a relatively sharp increase of 0.6 % of the total population.
- This increase is substantially due to international migration (= the difference between immigration and emigration abroad without taking into account reregistrations and automatic deletions). 58,121 persons came from abroad to live in the Flemish Region while 30,171 persons left (balance: +27,950 persons).
- Within Belgium, 33,651 persons moved to the Flemish Region from another region, and 22,170 persons left to another region (balance: + 11,481)
- Finally, the natural population growth (births versus deaths) remained positive (+ 1,971 persons).
- The population has increased by 9,904 persons in 2017. This is less than in 2016, when 12,257 persons came. The growth amounts to 0.3 %.
- Attention: the natural evolution of the Walloon population is again slightly negative: there were 1,176 more deaths than births in the Walloon Region in 2017. In 2016, this balance amounted to 831 persons.
- The main factor of this population growth is, just like in the Flemish Region, international migration: 27,585 persons came from abroad to live in the Walloon Region, and 18,316 persons left to go and live abroad.
- Internal migration also remains positive: there were more people coming from other regions to live in Wallonia than people who left to another region. The balance amounts to 2,820.
- The population has increased by 7,122 persons in 2017. This is a lot more than what we observed in 2016 (3,714 persons), but still well below the average increase observed for the period 2011-2015 (average growth of 13,760 persons).
- What certainly contributes is the number of automatic deletions, which remains high: 20,234 in 2017 and 20,397 in 2016, compared to an average of 16,283 in the period 2011-2015.
- International migration, the persons coming from abroad to live in the region, stands, with 42,352 persons, again at the average level of the period 2011-2015 (42,978 persons). In 2016, it amounted to 40,066 persons only.
- In the end, the BrusselsCapital Region keeps losing people to other regions. During 2017, 25,129 persons came to live in the region from another region, and 39,430 left to another region. The balance of -14,301 is in line with what we saw in 2016 (-14,743), but higher than the average for the period 2011-2015 (-13,200).
At provincial and regional level, we can also observe the same trends as in the previous years:
- Flemish Brabant is the fastest growing province, with a growth of 0.8 %.
- Antwerp and East Flanders also register a strong growth of 0.6 %.
- In the Walloon Region, Walloon Brabant shows the biggest growth, with 0.5 %.
- Hainaut remains the Belgian province with the smallest growth rate. The figure of 0.2 % has, however, been maintained for a number of years.
- The population of big cities registers a significant growth, with the exception of Liège.
- The population of Brussels (city of Brussels) has grown by 1.5 %.
- For Antwerp and Ghent, we observe a growth rate of 0.5 % in 2017.
- Charleroi had 0.3 % more inhabitants. Finally, the population of Liège has decreased by 0.3 %.
- The municipality with the sharpest growth is Olne in the province Liège, with a rate of 2.7 % (109 inhabitants). Drogenbos (Flemish Brabant) and Troisponts (Liège) follow with 2.6 % (142 inhabitants) and 2.5 % (63 inhabitants) respectively.
- Conversely, in relative terms, Spiere-Helkijn has lost the most inhabitants: -55 inhabitants (2.6 %) Bouillon lost 106 inhabitants or 1.9 % and Daverdisse 22 inhabitants or 1.5 %.
|Place of residence||Population on 1st January 2017||Natural balance||Internal migration balance||International migration balance||Statistical adjustment||Total growth||Population on 1st January 2018|
|Province of Antwerp||1,836,030||2,687||447||8,506||-184||11,456||1,847,486|
|Province of Limburg||867,413||459||-82||3,160||-70||3,467||870,880|
|Province of East Flanders||1,496,187||244||3,894||4,603||125||8,866||1,505,053|
|Province of Flemish Brabant||1,129,849||896||5,002||2,936||-194||8,640||1,138,489|
|Province of West Flanders||1,186,532||-2,315||2,220||4,666||-44||4,527||1,191,059|
|Province of Walloon Brabant||399,123||195||1,581||233||-26||1,983||401,106|
|Province of Hainaut||1,339,562||-1,129||1,289||2,034||-111||2,083||1,341,645|
|Province of Liège||1,102,531||-170||-417||3,230||152||2,795||1,105,326|
|Province of Luxembourg||282||256||-102||1,032||69||1,255||283,227|
|Province of Namur||491,285||-328||469||1,556||91||1,788||493,073|
 The data stem from the National Register. The official population figures do not take into account the waiting register of asylum seekers, which comprises people with an ongoing asylum application (Law of 24 May 1994 establishing a waiting register for foreigners who declare themselves refugees or who ask to be recognised as refugees). However, the figures published by Eurostat contain an estimate of people entered in the waiting register.
 A limited number of registrations in the National Register are late or incorrect. Therefore, the observed population growth (difference between the population on 1st January 2018 and 1st January 2017) is not 100 % in line with the balance obtained based on births, deaths and migrations. The statistical adjustment this year is almost negligible (27 units). This is an indication that the data are of high quality.
 The statistical adjustment must also be taken into account at regional level. It amounts to -367 for Flanders, +175 in Wollania and +165 for Brussels.