In the first six months of 2004 emigrants from the Netherlands outnumbered immigrants by 13 thousand, the largest net emigration since the 1950s. The main cause for the emigration surplus is a considerable decrease in immigration. At the same time emigration rose significantly as the most recent figures published by Statistics Netherlands show.
Persistent decrease in immigration
In the first six months of 2004 a total of 40 thousand immigrants were registered, more than 8 thousand down on the first six months of 2003. The steady decrease in immigration observed since 2001 thus continues.
On 1 May 2004 ten countries, including Poland, joined the European Union (EU). In May as well as in June 600 Poles came to the Netherlands, whereas before the expansion of the EU 100 to 200 Poles came to the Netherlands every month. The number of immigrants from the other nine countries that recently joined the EU is considerably lower.
Emigration on the increase
In the first six months of 2004 the number of emigrants that left the Netherlands amounted to 53 thousand, 6 thousand more than in the first six months of the previous year. More than half of these emigrants consist of people born abroad who leave the Netherlands after having lived here for a number of years. In the first six months of 2004 in particular the emigration of Turks rose substantially.
Birth rate further down in 2004
In 2003 the number of births in the Netherlands totalled 200 thousand, that is 2 thousand down on 2002. In the first six months of 2004 the number of births was 3.6 thousand down on the same period in 2003. It is anticipated that the number of births in 2004 will not exceed 196 thousand.
There are two reasons for the declining birth rate. Firstly, the number of women around thirty, the age at which most women become mothers, is falling. Secondly, a period of economic recession usually results in a decrease in the number of births after eighteen to twenty-four months. The drop in the number of births in the last quarter of 2003 came some twenty months after confidence in the economic situation, as shown by the index reflecting willingness to buy, declined.
Population growth very low
In record year 2000 the population in the Netherlands grew by 123 thousand. In the first six months of 2004 the population grew by only 12 thousand. There are now close to 16.3 million people living in the Netherlands.
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