142 thousand children were born during the first nine months of 2005. Since this is 4 thousand less than in the same period of 2004, Dutch population growth is slowing down. The birth rate is expected to decrease even further over the next few years. Many parents decide to have families without actually getting married, according to the latest figures by Statistics Netherlands.
No end in sight for the decline
It is expected that 190 thousand children will be born in 2005, whereas some 207 thousand children were born in the year 2000. The number of births is expected to drop below 180 thousand by 2010. A major cause of this decline is the falling birth rate in the early 1970s, which means the number of women aged around 30 is decreasing. Then there is the downward effect of the unfavourable economic situation.
One in three children born outside marriage
There are more and more children whose parents remain unmarried. In the first nine months of 2005 one in three children was extra-marital. Ten years earlier this was one in six. Almost half of all first children born in 2005 were born outside marriage. Many parents will marry after the birth of their first child, but their number is falling.
Quarter of a million unmarried couples with children
On 1 January 2005 there were a quarter of a million unmarried couples with children. Ten years earlier there were less than 100 thousand. Increasingly parents are opting to have a family without getting a marriage certificate. The fact that having children is less often a reason to get married is also visible in the declining marriage rate. In 2004 there were 73 thousand marriages, in 2003 there were 80 thousand.
Declining population growth
The declining birth rate puts the breaks on Dutch population growth. The population increased by less than 25 thousand from January through September 2005. This is 7 thousand less than in the same period of 2004. The population growth rate started slowing down in 2000. In the first nine months of that year the number of inhabitants increased by over 90 thousand.
The further increase of the number of emigrants also contributes to the declining population growth. In the first nine months of 2005 almost 89 thousand people left the country, 4 thousand more than in the same period of 2004.
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