How many residents were born abroad?

Of the 17.5 million people who were residing in the Netherlands on 1 January 2021, 14.0 percent were born abroad. They came to the Netherlands as migrants. Another 11.4 percent of the population were born in the Netherlands as children of migrants.
On 1 January 2021, the Netherlands had 15.1 million residents who were born in the Netherlands, just under 2 million of whom are children of migrants. They have one or two parents who were born abroad. Just over half (1.1 million) have one foreign-born and one Netherlands-born parent, while just under half (890 thousand) have two foreign-born parents. Almost 2.5 million residents of the Netherlands are migrants, i.e. people who were born abroad. The vast majority of this group have two parents who were also born abroad (2.2 million).
Population by country of origin, 1 January 2021
Born inResidents
Netherlands, parents too13031
Netherlands, 1 parent abroad1103
Netherlands, 2 parents abroad890
Abroad, 2 parents abroad2203
Abroad, 1 parent abroad110
Abroad, 2 parents in the Netherlands138

Origins of migrants and their children

On 1 January 2021, nearly 2.5 million residents of the Netherlands were born abroad. Under the new classification, two thirds of these migrants (1.6 million people) have their origins outside Europe. Among the traditional countries of migration, the group born in Turkey is the largest (201,000), followed by migrants born in Suriname (178,000) and Morocco (173,000). The Netherlands is also home to a relatively large group of migrants born in Other - Asia (497 thousand).

As for the children of migrants who were born in the Netherlands, there are differences in the distribution by country of origin between those with one foreign-born parent and those of whom both parents were born abroad.

Of the 890 thousand residents born in the Netherlands with two foreign-born parents, by far the largest group comes from Outside Europe. One-fifth (188 thousand) are of Moroccan origin, and a slightly lower number (174 thousand) are of Turkish origin.

Of the 1.1 million Netherlands-born residents with one foreign-born parent, 44 percent have a parent who was born in another European country. The largest group (191 thousand) has a father or mother who was born in Indonesia.

Population by country of origin, 1 January 2021
Born inEurope (excl. Netherlands) (x 1 000 residents)Indonesia (x 1 000 residents)Morocco (x 1 000 residents)Dutch Caribbean (x 1 000 residents)Suriname (x 1 000 residents)Turkey (x 1 000 residents)Other - Africa (x 1 000 residents)Other - America, Oceania (x 1 000 residents)Other -Asia (x 1 000 residents)
Born abroad82910817399178201202163497
Netherlands-born, 1 or 2 parents born abroad5982592428018222212795190
of which
Netherlands-born, 1 parent born abroad48319154457358547868
Netherlands-born, 2 parents born abroad11568188351091647317122

Classification by origin: ‘born in the Netherlands or abroad’ and ‘country of origin’

As of February 2022, CBS adopts a different approach when publishing data on people currently referred to as having a western or non-western migration background: greater emphasis will be placed on where a person was born and less on where their parents were born. The term ‘migration background’ will no longer be used in this regard. The main categories western/non-western have been replaced by categories based on continents and a few countries that share a specific migration history with the Netherlands. From the start of 2022, this change will be gradually implemented in the relevant statistics and publications. The classification comprises two components: ‘Born in the Netherlands or abroad’ and ‘Country of origin’.