Over 1.6 million more foreigners in 2050

09/01/2007 14:00

The population of the Netherlands is expected to number 16.8 million inhabitants in 2050, compared with 16.4 million today. The growth will be accounted for entirely by people with a foreign background. In 2050, 29 percent of the Dutch population will consist of people with a foreign background. At the moment this is 19 percent.

Number of native Dutch people decreasing

According to Statistics Netherlands’ most recent population forecast, the population of the Netherlands will continue to rise to 2034. Subsequently it will start to decrease. In 2050 the population will include around 12.0 million native Dutch people, 1.2 million fewer than at the moment. 

More western and non-western foreigners

The number of inhabitants with a foreign background is expected to increase by more than 1.6 million up to 2050. The strongest growth is expected to be for the group with a non-western foreign background: from 1.7 to 2.7 million. The group with a western foreign background will rise more slowly from 1.4 million to 2.1 million. 

Population: native Dutch and foreign background

Population: native Dutch and foreign background

Non-western second generation will double

The increase in the number of people with a non-western foreign background will mainly be accounted for by the second generation, born in the  Netherlands. Between 2006 and 2050 this group will double in size, to around 1.5 million.

In the group of people with a western foreign background on the other hand the first generation will show the fastest growth. These are mainly immigrants from the European Union. In 2050 nearly three-quarters of first generation western foreigners will have come from countries now in the European Union. Today, this is just over half.

Western and non-western foreigners by generation

Western and non-western foreigners by generation

New groups growing fastest

In the coming decades, the three largest non-western groups - Turks, Moroccans and Surinamese - will show the most modest  growth in relative terms. The highest growth will be for the group ‘other non-western foreign background’. Many of these people arrived in the Netherlands recently; they are relatively young which means the second generation will grow strongly. This group consists of people from China, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran.

Non-western foreigners by country of origin

Non-western foreigners by country of origin

Non-western foreign group also ageing

As the inhabitants with a non-western foreign background are on average younger than those with a western background and the native Dutch population, they are tempering the ageing process of the total population to some extent. In the future they, too, will age, however, At the moment, one in thirty people with a non-western foreign background in aged 65 years or older. In 2050 this is expected to be one in six.  

Joop Garssen and Coen van Duin