Dutch population: 16.5 million in 2008

On 1 January 2004 the Netherlands will have 16.3 million inhabitants. This means that the population has increased by 65 thousand people in 2003. In 2000 the increase was 125 thousand people.

In the next few years, growth will drop further to 55 thousand (2004) and 49 thousand (2005), and subsequently start to rise again slowly. In 2008 the number of inhabitants will pass the 16.5 million mark.

Immigration and emigration, 1990-2008

Immigration and emigration, 1990-2008

Falling growth until 2006: three causes

There are three main reasons for the expected fall in population growth. First the number of births will fall as the generation of women who have the most children is smaller than preceding generations. Demographers forecast that 197 thousand babies will be born in the Netherlands in 2004, 7 thousand fewer than in 2003. In 2008 there will be even fewer: 184 thousand.

Secondly, mortality is increasing with the ageing population. In 2003 142 thousand people died. In 2008 this is expected to be 151 thousand.

The third reason is that the migration surplus is diminishing slightly. In 2003 the numbers of immigrants and emigrants were in balance: both 102 thousand. In 2004 and 2005 100 thousand immigrants are expected to arrive in the Netherlands , while 102 thousand people will leave. This will put net immigration at minus 2 thousand in both years.

Immigration positive again in a few years’ time

Immigration is expected to rise again in a few years’ time. Economic recovery and lower labour force growth because of the ageing process will have a positive effect on the number of immigrants. Also, in spite of restrictive short-term measures, the enlargement of the European Union will result in an increase in the number of immigrants from eastern European countries in the longer term.

Andries de Jong

Source: StatLine (Dutch only)