Population counter: 16.1 million on 1 January 2002

The Dutch population passed the 16 million mark early in March 2001. Last year the population grew by an estimated 116 thousand people, putting the number of people living in the Netherlands at 16.1 million on 1 January 2002. The growth rate was lower than in 2000, when the population increased by 123 thousand persons.

Population growth down in 2001

The lower population growth in 2001 is mainly a consequence of a fall in the number of births. 2000 was a top year with 207 thousand births. This peak was connected with the economic boom in 1999: confidence in the economic climate prompts more couples to have a (or another) baby. However, since the second half of 2000 consumer confidence has been falling. The number of live births in 2001 is expected to be around 202 thousand.

Number of live births

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On the basis of the figures for 2001, the population forecast for 2002-2007 has been adjusted. Statisticians expect the Dutch population to increase by half a million inhabitants in the next five years. The rate of growth will decrease though; between 2001 and 2004 population growth will still reach more than one hundred thousand, after that it will be slightly lower.

Three reasons for lower growth rate

There are three main reasons for the decrease in the growth rate in the coming years. First the number of births is falling. Most children are born to women born in the seventies and this generation is smaller than the preceding one. Secondly, The number of deaths will rise as a consequence of the increase in the number of elderly people. And thirdly more people will emigrate, while immigration will remain stable.

Andries de Jong