Population of Belgium 1800-2020

The state of Belgium owes its name to Julius Caesar, who used the name "Belgium" to refer to the region in his narrative "The Gallic Wars". After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the region emerged as a cosmopolitan trading center, and was a collection of smaller duchies and states (such as Flanders and Brabant), before modern history saw control of the region pass between France, the Netherlands and (to a lesser extent) Spain. Modern day Belgium emerged in 1830 following the Belgian Revolution when it gained independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Throughout this time, the Belgian region was the setting of many conflicts between other European powers, which greatly affected the population and demography of the area. From 1800 until the First world War, the population of Belgium grew steadily, and more than doubled in the nineteenth century.

The World Wars

From 1915 until 1921, the population dropped by approximately 200,000 people, as a result of World War I and the Spanish Flu epidemic. Belgium was one of the focal points of military action in the war, and many military personnel from other nations also lost their lives here during the conflict. Much of the Second World War also took place in Belgium, and although it remained neutral at the outbreak of both wars, it was invaded twice by Germany due to its strategic importance. Again, Belgium's population dropped due to conflict and displacement, with an estimated 88,000 Belgian fatalities during the war; with many further military fatalities from other nations also perishing in the region.

Continuous growth

From 1950 onwards, Belgium's population grows at a relatively consistent rate until the year 2000; where the growth rate increases again in the following two decades. Between 1950 and 2020 the population of Belgium has grown by three million people, which is due to a positive net migration rate and Belgium's ageing population. Belgium has a high standard of living, and the capital city of Brussels is home to the headquarters of many international institutions, particularly the European Union.

Population of Belgium from 1800 to 2020

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Release date

June 2019



Survey time period

1800 to 2019

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Statistics on "Demographics of Belgium"

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