The number of emigrants is continually growing. In the first nine months of 2006, nearly 100 thousand people left the Netherlands to settle elsewhere. For the third consecutive year, emigrants substantially outnumber immigrants. Recent figures published by Statistics Netherlands show that – solely due to migration – the population was reduced over the past three years by 75 thousand, i.e. the number of residents of a medium-sized town.
Emigration to reach new record high
The amount of emigrants has again risen in the first nine months of 2006. In that period, nearly 100 thousand people left the country, an increase by almost 12 thousand compared to the same period last year. Approximately half of emigrants are native Dutch. If this trend continues, more than 130 thousand people will have left the country by the end of this year.
From immigration country to emigration country
For the third year in a row, emigrants substantially outnumber immigrants. In 2003, emigrants and immigrants offset each other. In the period 2004-2006, a negative net migration of 75 thousand was recorded in the Netherlands, matching the population of municipalities like Schiedam and Spijkenisse. In the preceding thee years, the Netherlands had a positive net migration of 75 thousand.
Immigration rate further up
The number of immigrants is also on the increase. In the first three quarters of this year, 76 thousand immigrants settled in the Netherlands, an increase by 6 thousand compared to one year previously. They primarily came from Poland, Germany and the United States. The number of former Dutch emigrants returning to their country of birth is also growing.
Increasing emigration restrains growth of the population
Growing emigration resulted in a very modest population increase by 13 thousand, 9 thousand fewer than in the same period last year. The population is assumed to grow by approximately 20 thousand in 2006. The population growth has not been so modest since population counts were conducted for the first time in 1900.
Over the whole period 2004-2006, the population is expected to grow by just under 100 thousand. In the years 2001-2003, the population increased by more than 270 thousand.
Declining birth rate
The declining birth rate also slows down population growth. In the first nine monthes of this year, 139 thousand babies were born, a decrease by 3 thousand compared with the same period in 2005. If this trend continues, this year’s birth rate will be under 185 thousand, the lowest number in two decades.
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