Multikulti Hungary: Nearly Every 4th Resident a Foreigner in Two Key Districts of Budapest

  • 26 Oct 2023 7:20 AM
Multikulti  Hungary: Nearly Every 4th Resident a Foreigner in Two Key Districts of Budapest
In two central Budapest districts, Terézváros and Belváros-Lipótváros, Districts V and VI, nearly every fourth resident is a foreign national, according to 2022 census data from the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH).

The number of foreign residents in these districts has tripled every decade according to data from 2001 and 2011, and 70% of them are not from EU countries.

During the 2022 census, questionnaires were filled out by all individuals living in Hungary, including foreigners who have been in Hungary for at least three months. The questionnaire was also required for those who lived abroad for less than 12 months but had a Hungarian address. Presumably, this group included foreign nationals living in Hungary.

According to the 2022 KSH census data, there are 98,319 foreign nationals living in Budapest. This means that 5.8% of the city’s 1,685,342 residents are foreigners.

Interestingly, despite the freedom of movement within the EU, nearly 70% of the approximately 100,000 foreigners came from outside EU member states.

Nationally, the percentage of foreigners is much lower, with 2.2% of Hungary's 9,603,634 residents being foreign nationals. This means that nearly half of the foreigners living in the country reside in Budapest.

The highest proportion of foreign residents is found in Terézváros, District VI, where 24.8% of the population is foreign, meaning that nearly one in every four residents is a foreign national. This was not always the case; in 2001, the foreign population in this district was only 3.1%, which then increased to 8.4% a decade later.

So, the proportion has more than tripled every decade, and if this trend continues, it is not inconceivable that foreigners will outnumber Hungarian citizens in Terézváros in a few years.

The recent census data prompted the district to publish a special English-language issue of the local magazine.

Tamás Soproni, the mayor of Terézváros from the Momentum party, told that they will focus on providing proper information to foreign residents in English in public areas and other locations.

A similar situation can be seen in District V in the city centre, where the proportion of foreign residents is also high at 23.5%. In 2001, it started at 3.6% and increased to 7.9% in 2011, then tripled over the past 11 years. In 2022, three other districts had a proportion of over 10%: Erzsébetváros (17.9%), Józsefváros (14.2%), and Ferencváros (11.9%).

If we look at the number of foreign residents rather than the proportion relative to the district's population, the order changes because districts have different sizes. In this list, Józsefváros leads with 9,920 foreign residents, followed by District XIII with 9,868. Terézváros (8,790 foreign residents), Erzsébetváros (8,741 foreign residents), and Ferencváros (7,096 foreign residents) follow them.

Csepel least attractive place for foreigners in Budapest

In the outer districts, significantly fewer foreigners live. Csepel is the least attractive to them, where the proportion has only increased from 1.2% to 1.7% in 20 years. Budafok (1.8%), Soroksár (1.8%), Újpest (1.9%), and District XVII (1.9%) also have proportions below 2%.

KSH does not provide fresh information about who these people are or, at the very least, which countries they come from on its website. It is only known whether they are from EU or non-EU countries, and even the Terézváros municipality lacks more specific information.

Regarding the composition of foreign nationals in the capital 11 years ago, we can only rely on data from 2011, but the situation has changed significantly since then. In 2011, out of Budapest's 1,729,040 residents, 56,632 were foreign nationals, accounting for just 3.27% of the population.

Eleven years ago, most of the people moving to Budapest came from neighbouring countries with significant Hungarian minorities, such as Romania (13,724), Ukraine (4,161), Slovakia (2,121) and Serbia (1,861). There were also arrivals from Germany (2,783) and Russia (1,438). A total of 9,087 citizens came from other European countries.

At that time, 15,741 people arrived from Asian countries (with China, 7,021, and Vietnam, 2,141, being the two largest groups), 2,595 from the American continents and 1,393 from Africa.

Words by Peterjon Cresswell for
Peterjon has been researching the byways of Budapest for 30 years, extending his expertise across Europe to produce guidebooks for Time Out and his own website

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