Population forecast, Caribbean Netherlands 2022-2050
The population of the Caribbean Netherlands is expected to grow from the present 27.7 thousand to 31.8 thousand by the year 2030. Last year’s forecast anticipated 31 thousand inhabitants in 2030.
Assumptions on migration
The migration balance (immigration minus emigration) observed in 2021 was 300 persons higher than projected in the 2021 forecast. This has resulted in a higher migration balance for the first couple of years according to the new forecast.
In the previous forecast, it was assumed that the pandemic’s restrictive effect on the immigration of persons born outside of the Caribbean Netherlands would have diminished within four years (2022 up to 2025 inclusive) and therefore completely disappeared by 2026. The current forecast also corresponds with the projections in the 2019 forecast from 2026 onwards. However, the immigration level as expected for 2030 was recalculated, taking into account the 2019 immigration figures.
In principle, the average of observations from 2014 to 2019 inclusive was used to determine the level of immigration in 2030. This method was not applied to a number of groups, either because the level of immigration was reasonably stable over a longer period, or because continuous changes in immigration made it desirable to use the level shortly before the pandemic as a basis (see table below).
|Island||Country of birth|
|Aruba, Curaçao, St Maarten||European Netherlands||Other|
To determine the probability of departure of these immigrants by length of stay, the estimates in the previous forecast were used. According to these estimates, 91 percent of immigrants born in the European Netherlands, 66 percent of those born in Aruba, Curaçao or St Maarten and 76 percent of those from other countries will eventually leave. It is also expected that 54 percent of emigrants born in the Caribbean Netherlands will eventually return.
Just as in previous forecasts, the basic assumption is that net migration stands at zero as of 2050, which means equal numbers of immigrants and emigrants. The migration balance is assumed to gradually decrease to zero between 2030 and 2050.
Assumptions on mortalityIn 2021, the total number of deaths in the Caribbean Netherlands was nineteen higher than expected in the previous forecast. For the coming years as well, the expected number in the current forecast is higher than in the previous one, because there are more inhabitants according to the current forecast. As in previous forecasts, it is assumed that mortality risks for residents of the Caribbean Netherlands decrease at the same rate as for residents of the European Netherlands.
Assumptions on birthsIn 2021, the total number of live births in the Caribbean Netherlands was seven lower than expected in the previous forecast. Nevertheless, the expected number in the current forecast has been adjusted upwards compared to the previous forecast. This is because a larger number of inhabitants aged around 30 is anticipated in the longer term, leading to more births.
Between 1 January 2011 and 1 January 2022, the population of the Caribbean Netherlands rose from 21.1 thousand to 27.7 thousand. This represents an average population growth of nearly 3 percent per year. By 2030, the forecast projects a population of 31.8 thousand, i.e. an annual growth rate of 1.9 percent. According to the forecast, growth will come to a halt around 2050. By that time, the Caribbean Netherlands is expected to have more than 34 thousand inhabitants.
Since 2011, Bonaire has seen the strongest population growth of the three islands. Until 2030, the forecast projects the strongest growth for Bonaire, and between 2030 and 2050 for St Eustatius (see table below).
|Island||Population (x 1,000)|
The previous forecast projected a lower population for all islands by 2050 than the new forecast. The previous population forecast was lower by 500 for Bonaire; by 300 for St Eustatius, and by 200 for Saba. This is due to the aforementioned higher expected migration balance and the higher numbers of live births.
The share of residents of the Caribbean Netherlands who were born there or on one of the islands Aruba, Curaçao or St Maarten is expected to fall slightly until 2030: from 55 to 53 percent. Approximately 14 percent of the current population were born in the European Netherlands and 31 percent elsewhere. This is expected to shift to 13 and 34 percent respectively in 2030.
In the following years, according to the current forecast, the share of residents born on one of the islands of Aruba, Curaçao or St Maarten will increase by one percentage point and the share of residents born in the European Netherlands will decrease by one percentage point. In the 2021 forecast, the projections for 2030 were virtually the same. The share of residents born on one of the islands (Aruba, Curaçao or St Maarten) was one percentage point higher than in the current forecast, while the share of residents born elsewhere was one percentage point lower. The proportion of residents born in the Caribbean Netherlands was the same.
The Caribbean Netherlands has an increasingly ageing population. Previous forecasts projected that the proportion of residents aged 65 and over would start to increase. This is also the case in the current forecast. At the start of 2022, 14 percent of the Caribbean Dutch population were 65 years or older. For 2030, it is projected that 19 percent of the population will be over-65s; for 2050, this projection is 28 percent. This is similar to the expectation in the previous forecast.
- Table - Population forecast Caribbean Netherlands 2022-2050
- Table - Population forecast Caribbean Netherlands 2021-2050
- Background article - Population forecast Caribbean Netherlands 2020-2050
- Dossier - Caribbean Netherlands