Antwerp will soon be “lost” to the hope of any future conservative government, local media said as data showed only a quarter of the city’s young children are Belgian natives, and studies revealed migrant background voters overwhelmingly supporting left-wing parties.
“That’s it — Antwerp now has more non-natives than natives,” claimed a headline in French-language news weekly, L’Express, over new figures which revealed that 53.2 per cent of residents in the city — Belgium’s most populous — are now of immigrant origin.
According to the latest demographic report from City Monitor, as well as to data compiled by sociologist Jan Hertogen earlier this month, North African immigrants — who in Belgium hail mostly from Morocco — and migrants from West Asia, who are mostly Turkish, comprise the biggest proportion of Antwerp residents with a foreign background.
With the proportion of non-Belgians in the city having grown from 46 per cent in 2014, L’Express notes that the major demographic shift “obviously has consequences” for politics in Antwerp, which has been led since 2013 by Mayor Bart De Wever, who heads the conservative New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) party.
To illustrate this, the magazine pointed to a University of Antwerp study which found that almost 90 per cent of the city’s voters with Moroccan or Turkish origins voted at last October’s elections for left-wing parties, with 31 per cent opting for the extreme left Workers’ Party of Belgium (PVDA).
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