The municipality had a total population of 20,078 on 1 January 2006. The total area is 2.95 km² which gives a population density of 6,807 inhabitants per km².
The municipality is known for its calm and peaceful character. It is said that Berchem is a "village in the city". The BelgianactorJean-Claude Van Damme was born and raised here; this is also the site of the Cité Moderne a housing project from 1922-1925 designed by the great Belgian architect Victor Bourgeois.