One quarter of asylumseekers are children

20/08/2009 15:00

In 2008, 13.4 thousand first requests for asylum were submitted in the Netherlands. One quarter of these requests concerned children younger than 18 years. Around the turn of the century, four out of every ten asylum requests were for minors. The decrease in the number of children requesting asylum is mainly the result of the lower number of unaccompanied foreign minors.

Asylumseekers by age

Asylumseekers by age

Fewer unaccompanied foreign minors

After the end of the 1990s, the number of unaccompanied foreign minors arriving in the Netherlands rose strongly, to 6.7 thousand in 2000. Since then the number has fallen again. In 2008 just over 700 children arrived in the Netherlands without parents or other accompanying adults.

Unaccompanied foreign minors and other underage asylumseekers

Unaccompanied foreign minors and other underage asylumseekers

Fewer older children

As unaccompanied foreign minors are older on average than children who come to the Netherlands with their families, the decrease in the number of child asylumseekers was largest among older children. In 2001 and 2002 nearly half of underage asylumseekers were aged between 15 and 18 years. In the last few years this was around a quarter.

Asylum request for minors by age

Asylum request for minors by age

Mainly boys

Most unaccompanied foreign minors, more than two out of three in the period 2005–2008, were boys. Relatively many of these boys came from Angola: 2 thousand unaccompanied foreign minors in 2001. More recently, nearly no Angolan children have arrived in the Netherlands. Now, relatively many boys come from Iraq and Somalia, and relatively many girls from Nigeria and Somalia.

Unaccompanied foreign minors by sex

Unaccompanied foreign minors by sex

Arno Sprangers and Han Nicolaas