In the first quarter of 2005 the population of the Netherlands grew by nearly 5 thousand. The population growth remains very moderate due to the low birth rate and the high mortality rate. According to figures released by Statistics Netherlands, the number of emigrants declined compared to last year.
Population growth at low level, but fairly stable
The Netherlands had almost 16.3 million inhabitants on 31 March 2005. The population increase by nearly 5 thousand in the first quarter almost equals the increase in the first quarter of 2004. The downward trend in the growth rate which prevailed in recent years, was thus discontinued. Nevertheless, the growth of the population in the Netherlands is at a historic low.
Downward trend in births
In the first quarter of 2005 just over 46 thousand children were born in the Netherlands, over one thousand less than in the same quarter of 2004. The birth rate has reached the lowest level since the first quarter of 1996. The current low rate is partly due to a decline in the number of women in their late twenties and early thirties, the age at which most women have their first child. Due to the acute drop of the birth rate in the 1970s, the cohort of women around the age of thirty is expected to decline further in the years to come. This is anticipated to result in a prolonged decline in the number of births.
High mortality rate owing to flu outbreak
In the first quarter of 2005 almost 39 thousand people died, nearly two thousand more than in the first quarter of 2004. The high mortality rate was affected by the flu outbreak in February. The south part of the Netherlands was struck hard by the epidemic. In 2004 the mortality rate was still at the lowest level since 1997 because there was no flu outbreak and the weather was mild in summer.
Fewer people emigrate
Nearly 25 thousand people left the country in the first quarter of 2005 to settle elsewhere, almost 3 thousand less than in the same quarter one year previously. The emigration rate has dropped to the level of two years ago. The decline was found across all groups of migrants. In particular the number of people from Somalia, the United Kingdom and former Yugoslavia who left the Netherlands, declined. There were nearly 11 thousand native Dutch among the people who left the Netherlands in the first quarter. This is slightly below the level of the same quarter of 2004.
In the past quarter 1.5 thousand immigrants from Poland arrived in the Netherlands, a thousand more than one year previously, when Poland had not yet joined the EU. The number of repatriating Dutch also increased. On the other hand, the number of immigrants from Morocco and Turkey dropped. On balance, the number of immigrants remained stable. In the first quarter of this year, 22 thousand immigrants came to the Netherlands, the same amount as in the first quarter of 2004. The decline in the number of immigrants was thus discontinued.
PDF contains complete press release including tables and graphics.