The population of the Netherlands is increasing, but the growth rate is relatively low. In 2005 the population will grow by about 92 inhabitants a day. In 1970 the growth rate was still as high as 443 inhabitants a day. In the future population growth is expected to develop into a population decrease. In 2040 the population will decrease by about 30 persons daily. The number of deaths will then determine the population development.
Migration no longer the motor of population growth
Since 2003 migration is no longer driving force behind population growth. Declining employment and the less favourable economic situation have both played an important role in this respect. In 2005, too, more people are expected to leave the country than to settle here. The Netherlands will lose 46 inhabitants per day through migration.
Net migration, births and deaths per day
Natural growth accounts for population increase
The population of the Netherlands is still increasing slightly in 2005, however, by an average 92 inhabitants per day. This is because births outnumber deaths. This will change in the future however: the number of deaths will exceed the number of births for the first time in 2027.
The situation in 1970
Just 35 years ago the population increased by 433 persons a day. The number of births was substantially higher, at 655 babies a day, and the number of deaths considerably lower, at 300 a day. The Dutch population had a relatively young composition. Natural growth was the motor behind population growth, stimulated by positive net migration.
Live births and deaths per day, 1970-2040
What will the next 35 years bring?
If we look 35 years ahead, we see an important turning point. While the population is growing by 92 people day in 2005, in 2040 it will decrease by 30 people a day. This will mainly be caused by more deaths. Mortality will be then be a determining factor for the population development. The difference between the number of deaths and the number of births will account for a decrease of 110 inhabitants a day in 2040.
Population development per day, 1970-2040
Migration will contribute positively to growth
Although the migration surplus will increase within a number of years, it will not be enough to prevent the population from shrinking. As the Netherlands becomes an immigration country again this will account for 72 additional inhabitants a day. This is less than the natural decrease, however. The turnaround from growth to decrease will start in 2035.
Jan Latten (CBS) and Bas Hamers (UvA)