The population of the Netherlands grew by fewer than 2 thousand people in the first half of 2006. In the same period last year, the increase was still as many as 7 thousand. The strong increase in emigration in particular has curbed population growth, according to the latest figures from Statistics Netherlands.
Decrease in second quarter
In the first quarter of 2006 the population of the Netherlands increased by only 2 thousand people. In the second quarter the population even decreased, by 400 people. This is the first time the number of people in the Netherlands has fallen over the period of one whole quarter. The small scale of the increase is caused by the strong increase in emigration and the decreasing number of births.
Population growth is expected to pick up again in the second half of 2006, as usually more immigrants arrive in the country and more babies are born in the second half of the year.
High net emigration
In the first half of the year more people left the country than arrived here. Negative net migration was 19 thousand, 5 thousand more than in the same period last year. This increase was mainly caused by rising emigration. In the first half of 2006 nearly 63 thousand people left the Netherlands to live abroad, over 9 thousand more than in the first half of 2005. Half of the increase consisted of emigrants born in the Netherlands, bringing their total to 28 thousand. In addition, 35 thousand former immigrants left the country again.
Highest negative net migration in European Union
The Netherlands is one of the few countries in the European Union with negative net migration. In 2005, a net 27 thousand people left the country. This is the highest emigration surplus in the EU. Only a number of East European countries have negative net migration (Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia). All other EU countries have a migration surplus.