The number of births in the Brussels-Capital region is steadily increasing, according to the latest statistics from the Health and Welfare Observatory. In 2012, 19,355 children were born in the European capital, compared to 19,111 the previous year. That is a 27.7% increase compared to a decade ago.
Brussels is the only region in Belgium where the number of births is on the rise, the reason being simple demographics: The population is younger than in Flanders or Wallonia. About half of the babies born in Brussels (49.4%) have a Belgian mother. Mothers from other EU countries account for 22.3% of the births, while 10.2% come from Morrocco, and 6.8% from sub-Saharan Africa.
Across Europe, the birth rate has still not caught up. Experts say it takes around 2.1 live births per woman to be the replacement level: in other words, the average number of live births per woman required to keep the population size constant if there were no inward or outward migration. The fertility rate in the EU has been much lower than this replacement level at about 1.45 live births per woman.
Brussels is now the fastest growing Belgian region in terms of population. In 2010, its population grew by 29,950 persons (+2.7%). This growth results almost entirely from a positive external migration balance. Much of the immigrants are coming from North Africa and the Middle East, with an estimated 25% Muslim population.