With only 30 thousand, the population increase in the Netherlands in 2005 was the lowest since 1900. On 1 January 2006, the population stood at 16.34 million. The scant growth is mainly due to the fact that immigrants were seriously outnumbered by emigrants. Additionally, the birth rate dropped again, according to the latest figures published by Statistics Netherlands. The population growth has shown a downward trend since 2001.
Number of emigrants continues to grow
More and more people leave the Netherlands to settle abroad; the number of emigrants for 2005 and 2004 totalled 121 thousand and 110 thousand respectively. The increase is mainly caused by the fact that more native Dutch left the country. They accounted for almost half of all emigrants. A significant part of them settled in Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands Antilles.
Number of immigrants stable
The number of immigrants entering the Netherlands totalled 94 thousand in 2005. That is approximately the same amount as in the previous year. There was a sharp decrease in the number of Moroccan and Turkish immigrants. On balance, a few hundred Turks and Moroccans came to settle in the Netherlands in 2005. The number of Polish immigrants, on the other hand, rose from 2 thousand to 7 thousand. They were the second largest group after repatriating Dutch.
Net migration negative for second year in a row
For the second consecutive year more people left (121 thousand) than entered (94 thousand) the country, resulting in a negative net migration of 27 thousand. In 2000 immigrants still outnumbered emigrants by 54 thousand.
Birth rate down again
In 2005, a total of 188 thousand babies were born, 6 thousand fewer than in the previous year. The downward trend in births was recorded for the first time in 2000 and is expected to continue in the years to come. This is caused by a decrease of young women in the Dutch population.
Low mortality rate
Last year, 137 thousand people died in the Netherlands, roughly the same amount as in 2004. In the period 1999-2003, the mortality rate was notably higher. The flue epidemic in March caused the mortality rate among older people to rise, but this effect was offset by the relatively cool summer and mild autumn.
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