According to the latest figures by Statistics Netherlands, the Netherlands had a population of 16.3 million on 1 January 2005. In 2004 the population increased by just 34 thousand. In 2003 the increase was twice as high. Such a low growth rate has not been observed since 1920. This development is mainly due to a further decrease in immigration and an increase in emigration.
Growth rate decreases again
The growth rate of the Dutch population has steadily declined since 2000. In that year the population increased by 123 thousand. The 2004 population increase of 34 thousand was just over a quarter of that figure. In recent years the natural population growth (births minus deaths) gradually decreased. However, by far the most important cause of the decrease in population growth in 2004 was the emigration surplus: there were nearly 23 thousand more emigrants than immigrants.
More emigration, less immigration
In 2004 a record level of over 112 thousand people left the Netherlands. Compared to 2003 emigration increased by over 7 percent in 2004. At the same time immigration fell by 14 percent reaching 90 thousand. The decrease has to do with the less favourable economic situation. Possibly the changes in the immigration laws play a role as well.
Fewer Turkish and Moroccan immigrants
The number of immigrants from Turkey, Morocco, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles fell sharply: especially in the case of Turkey and Morocco. In 2004 some 2.9 thousand immigrants came from Morocco, 2 thousand less than in 2003. The number of immigrants from Turkey fell from 6.7 to 3.9 thousand. Immigration from Poland rose sharply since Poland joined the EU on 1 May 2004, doubling from 2.2 thousand in 2003 to 4.9 thousand in 2004.
Lower mortality rate in 2004
Despite the aging of the Dutch population as a whole, the number of deaths decreased. 137 Thousand people died in 2004, 5 thousand less than in 2003. The decrease has to do with the fact that, in contrast to 2003, there were no hot or cold spells in 2004, nor a flue epidemic. Such events lead to an increase in deaths, particularly among old people.
Share of people with a foreign background increases
For the first time in years, the number of first generation immigrants did not increase. The second generation (born in the Netherlands) increased by 29 thousand in 2004.
On 1 January 2005 the Netherlands had 1.69 million inhabitants with a non-western background, 283 thousand more than on 1 January 2000. This raised the share of people with a non-western background to over 10 percent of the population. The number of people with a western foreign background increased by 54 thousand to 1.42 million during this period. This constitutes about 9 percent of the population.
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