With an increase of just under 8 thousand, the population growth in the first six months of 2005 reached a historically low level. In the same period 54 thousand persons left the Netherlands. Immigration was markedy lower and amounted to 41 thousand. This resulted in a negative net migration of 13 thousand. The birth rate declined further, according to the most recent figures released by Statistics Netherlands.
Lowest population growth rate since 1920
The low population growth rate is caused by a high negative net migration and a low birth rate, in conjunction with a higher mortality. Although mostly higher in the latter half of the year, the population increase is not anticipated to exceed 40 thousand, unprecedented since 1920. In 2000, for instance, a population increase of 123 thousand was recorded.
Negative net migration
In the first half of 2005 emigrants outnumbered immigrants by 13 thousand. Net migration entirely consisted of persons born in the Netherlands. The number of persons born outside the Netherlands who left the country was offset by those who settled in the Netherlands in the first half of 2005. The negative net migration was marginally higher than in the first six months of 2004, when, for the first time in many years, considerably more people left than entered the country. This situation only occurred in the 1950s and lasted several years. The Dutch government then actively promoted emigration.
More Poles come to the Netherlands
In the first two quarters of 2005 the number of immigrants entering the Netherlands was 41 thousand, slightly below last year’s level. There are remarkable disparities between the immigrants’ countries of origin. The number of immigrants from most EU member states rose; 3 thousand Poles came to the Netherlands in the first half of 2005, an increase by over a thousand compared to the same period last year. The number of immigrants from Morocco and Turkey and, to a lesser degree, from Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles, declined.
Birth rate further down
In the first half of 2005 approximately 93 thousand babies were born, 3 thousand less than in the same period last year. The birth rate decline steadily continues. If this trend persists, the birth rate for 2005 will amount to 190 thousand, whereas five years ago the annual birth rate was 207 thousand. The downward trend is mainly caused by a decrease in the number of women around the age of thirty, the age when the average Dutch woman has her first baby. The birth rate is expected to fall to under 180 thousand in five years time.
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