Population

23 percent of the Dutch population now have a migration background. In the past three years, population growth has mainly been due to immigration. Household composition differs significantly between origin groups. Refugees and people from new EU member states are relatively likely to form a single-person household, while the majority of people with a Turkish or Moroccan background live as a couple. The proportion of migrants is especially high in the largest cities. A little over half of all residents of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague have a migration background.

Population growth through immigration

In the past three years, population growth in the Netherlands has mainly been due to immigration. Between 1 January 2015 and 1 January 2018, the number of people living in the Netherlands increased by 280,000, and about three-quarters of this population growth came about through international migration. In recent years, refugees have primarily arrived from Syria and, to a lesser degree, from Iraq, Eritrea, Iran and Afghanistan. This asylum-related migration peaked in 2016. More than 20 percent of immigrants from these countries were family members being reunited with people already in the Netherlands.

Immigration from Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and some other Eastern European countries increased significantly after these countries joined the European Union between 2004 and 2007. The abolition of the work permit requirement for Bulgarians and Romanians in 2014 was linked to a fresh influx of Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants. The number of people migrating to the Netherlands from new EU member states has also increased in the last two years.

Migration balance by country of birth, refugee groups
JaarAfghanistanIraqIranSomaliaEritreaSyria
199514452842231024618236
1996274044282375283723213
199736085873122487353222
19983827699979754042231
19995302262680538237549
200043963812141535276849
2001420622091782-719831007
20022435-179856-158670497
2003118413839-222542170
2004210-22-105-23075249
2005-376-604-222-143132-38
2006-608-507-37-76644-27
2007-4079464405179780
2008-2003135526177891153
20093892282692447618984
20108161167983435220186
2011805-15611191504248164
2012300-1268036173422
2013314-382719364061839
20143531348682020428461
201539309557-426326620623
2016174023391934-669312527506
20173909131124-398296516083

Migration balance by country of birth, new EU
Categories1PolandBulgariaRomaniaOther new EU
199581048148284
199689084133554
1997824168286576
1998957156351812
1999506167281371
20001143212489918
200114272615561007
20021501357429473
20031214345480378
200439302743391193
200550732342161071
20065330216394738
20076791405617671417
20089023364014012408
2009697419949272412
20108702167612543690
20111178224929253153
201284676985732648
201398701317021963
201412107186820102457
20159646183016672396
20169016184421962591
20179348276235173741

Eritreans are often single; Turks and Moroccans often live as a couple

Household composition varies significantly between origin groups. In more than three-quarters of cases, people with an Eritrean background form single-person households. Fewer than half the households among other refugee groups such as Syrians, Iranians, Afghans and Iraqis are made up of a single person. The majority of Turkish and Moroccan households consist of a couple, whether with or without children. One in eight of these couples includes at least one partner with a migration background ; this is slightly more likely to be the case among Moroccans than among Turks.
Almost half of couples with a Surinamese background include a partner with a native Dutch background; this fraction is almost two-thirds among couples with an Antillean background. These two groups also include more single people and single-parent families than are present among households formed by people with a Turkish or Moroccan background. Romanians, Poles and especially Bulgarians are also relatively likely to form single-occupier households. When they do form a couple, they fairly often have a partner with a native Dutch background. This is especially true for Romanians, more than half of whom have a Dutch partner.

Household composition by background, 1 January 2016 (%)
Categories2Couple, 2 partners migration backgroundCouple, 1 partner migration backgroundSingle householdSingle-parent householdOther types of household
Four largest non-
western origin groups
Turkish53.66.626.512.11.2
Moroccan48.66.829.512.52.7
Surinamese22.018.540.018.51.0
Antillean13.723.644.517.21.0
New EU
Polish31.118.643.16.80.4
Bulgarian29.59.952.87.20.6
Romanian23.925.345.45.00.4
Refugees
Afghan47.73.235.310.43.4
Eritrean12.50.777.88.80.2
Iraqi39.55.440.911.92.3
Iranian28.712.248.69.41.1
Somalian21.92.548.325.71.6
Syrian45.13.046.05.10.8

Migrants overrepresented in large cities

On 1 January 2018, 23 percent of the population of the Netherlands had a migration background; that percentage was higher in large cities. Just over half the residents of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague have a migration background; the fraction in Utrecht is a third. Almere, Amstelveen, Diemen, Schiedam, Vaals and Capelle aan den IJssel have a higher proportion of residents with a migration background than does Utrecht. Rotterdam has the largest percentage of residents with a non-Western background (38 percent), followed by Amsterdam and The Hague (35 percent). A relatively high number of people with a Western migration background live in these last two cities.

Of all the residents of the Netherlands who have a Surinamese or Moroccan background, just under half live in one of the four largest cities; the same figure for Turks and people from the Antilles is a little over a third. For comparison: nine percent of people with a native Dutch background live in one of these cities. It is especially noticeable among people from Suriname and the Antilles that the second generation is less likely than the previous generation to live in the large cities. Second-generation Turks and Moroccans are also a little less likely than their parents to live in the large cities, but the difference between the generations is smaller in these groups.