On 1 January 2006, approximately one in three residents of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague had a non-western background. After a period of sustained growth, the proportion of first-generation non-westerners in Amsterdam and Rotterdam is gradually declining since 2004, whereas the proportion of second-generation non-westerners continues to rise. Half of young big-city dwellers currently have a non-western background.
Share of people with non-western background
First generation in decline
In Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague one in three residents have a non-western background. The rate in big cities far exceeds the rate in other regions. Nearly 11 percent of the Dutch population of 16.3 million have a non-western background. The proportion of people with a non-western background increased rapidly in Rotterdam and The Hague during the past decade, but the growth rate has slowed down in recent years. In 2005, the share of the first generation even declined marginally in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. This is mainly due to a reduction in the number of immigrants and a simultaneous increase in the number of emigrants.
Share of first generation people with non-western background
Growth second generation continues
Although the first generation of people with a non-western background is no longer growing, the second generation is still increasing. Many people with a non-western background have already started or are about to start a family. A large proportion of young big-city dwellers belong to the second generation. More than half of young people living in Amsterdam and Rotterdam have a non-western background.
Share of people with non-western background among the young
More and more people with a non-western background living in the Netherlands move from the big cities to suburbs and neighbouring municipalities. The migration from big cities to suburbs is a process that started a few decades ago among native Dutch. Relatively many people from the former Dutch colony of Surinam, for instance, left Amsterdam to settle in Almere. This process is anticipated to continue in the years to come.
Maarten Alders and Joop Garssen