According to Statistics Netherlands’ population forecast, 2019 will be the first year in which half the Dutch adult population will be older than 50 years. In many Dutch municipalities more than half of the population are already over 50.
2019: nearly 14 million adults, 7 million over-50s
The Dutch population is ageing more and more rapidly. While fewer than one in three adults were older than 50 in 1950, this is expected to rise to half of all adults in five years’ time. In 2019, 6.9 million of the 13.7 million adults will be older than 50 years.
Age composition of Dutch population
On 1 January this year, over 16.8 million people were living in the Netherlands. Just over 13.3 million of them were 18 years or older. The share of the adult population has risen steadily in recent decades. In 1950 less than two-thirds of the adult population were 18 years or older; today this is nearly 80 percent. This share will rise fractionally, to 81 percent in 2045.
Share of adults in Dutch population
Old shell around young centre
Some municipalities age faster than others. On 1 January 2014, over-50s accounted for more than half the adult population in 264 municipalities. These municipalities are mostly located in the provinces North Holland (mainly north of Amsterdam), Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe and Zeeland, in the Achterhoek and Twente regions in the east of the country, and Zuid-Limburg, and southern North Brabant in the south of the country. The oldest municipalities are Rozendaal and Laren, where more than 65 percent of all over-18s are 50 years or older. The city of Utrecht is youngest: less than 30 percent of its adults are over 50.
Share of over-50s in Dutch adult population, 1 January 2014
This shift in the age composition has triggered a number of other changes. The consumer market, for example, is evolving. The number of car owners aged 45 and older has risen clearly in the period 2010-2013, while the number of under-45s owning a car is falling. Continued population ageing means that car ownership will increasingly be a matter for the over-50s. On the housing market, too, demands are changing, as more home owners and tenants are in the older age groups.
Older consumers are set to become an increasingly important demographic. They have already become a popular target for marketing strategies: there are special over-50s fairs and exhibitions, dating websites, and even a special broadcasting station.