Changing migration flows push up income in big cities

Net international migration to the big cities in the Netherlands has dropped sharply since 2000. In addition in net terms, fewer people have moved from these cities to other municipalities. This has resulted in higher per capita income levels in the big cities.

Immigration down

In 2000 and 2001 the Netherlands had the highest immigration flows ever. Net immigration accounted for no fewer than 54 thousand new inhabitants per year in the Netherlands. Relatively many of them settled in the largest cities.

Immigration has dropped sharply since then, and since 2003 net migration has been negative. This, too, has affected the big cities. Amsterdam and Rotterdam no longer have a migration surplus and people from these cities have started to leave the country.

Net external migration

Net external migration

Less suburbanisation

At the same time internal migration flows have also changed. In The Hague, net migration to other municipalities almost came to a standstill in 2005. In Amsterdam more people are leaving than coming to live in the city, although departure rates have more than halved. In Rotterdam on the other hand, the number of moves to other municipalities was higher than in 2001.

Net internal migration

Net internal migration

Effect of migration on income levels

A study of the period 1999–2003 has shown that changes in migration flows have an effect on the average income situation of a city’s population. City dwellers who moved away from the city had a relatively high income. The average income level of immigrants who came to live in the cities was far below the Dutch average. As a result, this tempered average income levels in years when more immigrants arrived in the big cities

Relative income when moving to/from the big cities, 1999-2003

Relative income when moving to/form the big cities, 1999-2003

Higher average incomes in big cities

Until 2003, a slight improvement was noticeable in the relative income situation of inhabitants in the big cities compared with the rest of the country. Only the relative income of people living in Rotterdam decreased.
The smaller influx of people with a relatively low income – and the smaller outflow of people with a relatively high income - contributed to this improvement.

Relative income in the three big cities

Relative income in the three big cities

Aldert de Vries (RPB) and Jan Latten (CBS)