Population growth in 2014 nearly 73 thousand: more immigrants and more babies

According to Statistics Netherlands, the population growth rate in the Netherlands has risen again in 2014. The population grew by nearly 73 thousand. Immigration increased further to a record high of 181 thousand. Emigration remained more or less stable. The number of live births increased for the first time in half a decade.

Immigration reached unprecedented level

In 2014, the Dutch population grew faster than in the preceding years, largely due to immigration growth which reached a new record high with more than 181 thousand. Mid-2014, Statistics Netherlands already reported that more immigrants arrived in the Netherlands. This trend continued in the latter half of the year.
With 144 thousand departures, emigration remained virtually stable. Net foreign migration amounted to more than 37 thousand, almost twice as many people as in 2013.

More immigrants from Poland and Romania

Most immigrants (24 thousand) came from Poland. Poles constituted the largest immigrant group in 2014, even larger than the group of native Dutch immigrants (nearly 22 thousand). Many Polish migrants leave the Netherlands after a while, but net Polish immigration was nearly 12 thousand. Today, Poles constitute the fifth largest immigrant group, after residents born in Turkey, Morocco, Suriname and Indonesia.
Polish immigrants often come to the Netherlands to work. Since 2007, they no longer need a work permit. Last year, Romanian immigration to the Netherlands also increased.  Since 1 January 2014, they are also allowed to work here without requiring a work permit. Although Bulgarian immigrants, too, no longer need a work permit, their number did not grow so rapidly. Because Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian labour immigrants are not obliged to register in the municipal population registers, their number is higher than the population registers suggest.

Also more immigrants from Syria

Since the latter half of 2013, more asylum seekers - mainly Syrians - have come to the Netherlands <>>. Last year, more Syrians have registered in Dutch municipalities than in 2013 (8.5 thousand). The relatively large number of asylum requests submitted by Eritreans is also reflected in the municipal population registers: approximately 2 thousand registrations versus nearly 500 in 2013.

Most emigrants have western foreign background

Apart from a dip around the year 2008, emigration from the Netherlands has gradually risen since the turn of the century. Since that period, the number of emigrants with a western foreign background has risen noticeably. Within this category, Polish nationals also constitute the largest group, followed by German emigrants. Native Dutch emigration, initially on a par with total emigration, has not grown further since 2009. Since then, approximately 30 thousand native Dutch annually emigrate from the Netherlands.

Birth rate no longer in decline

The number of live births has declined annually since 2009. In 2013, the birth rate had fallen back to the level of the early 1980s (171.3 thousand). Last year, the birth rate started to rise again for the first time. It appears that women are trying to catch up: those who postponed motherhood during the recession are now having babies. In particular the number of women just over thirty who gave birth was relatively high in 2014 So far, this trend is not observed among younger women.

Mortality stable

Last year, fewer people died than in 2013. The mortality rate was particularly low at the beginning of the year, but was relatively high during the last months of 2014. Eventually, total annual mortality was only 2 thousand below the level of 2013. The high mortality rate continued in January 2015. In that period, a flu epidemic swept the country. To what extent the flu epidemic contributed to the higher mortality rate cannot be estimated accurately.
Altogether, the natural population increase was more than 35 thousand, i.e. 5 thousand more than in 2013, but still low relative to earlier years.

Growth in Randstad region

Population growth rates were not evenly spread across the country. The growth rate in the agglomerations in the Randstad region was above average. The highest growth rate was recorded in the Amsterdam agglomeration. Population growth is largely determined by the natural population increase and foreign immigration. This applies even more to the agglomeration of The Hague. In both regions, migrants from Eastern Europe contributed noticeably to the population growth. In the agglomeration of Haarlem, on the other hand, the population grew mainly because the number of people who moved to Haarlem exceeded those who left the agglomeration.

The population declined in nine agglomerations. In 2014, the most substantial loss was recorded in the municipality of Delfzijl, by more than 0.75 percent .  In the five regions where the population fell most rapidly, the mortality rate was higher than the number of live births. Surprisingly, net foreign migration in all of these areas was positive. The high rate for Delfzijl is caused by the presence of refugee centres located in this municipality. The negative domestic migration rate also plays a part in this respect. After a certain period of time, people who stay in refugee centres have to be accommodated elsewhere in the Netherlands. The overall trend is that in rural areas more people move to settle in areas with a higher degree of urbanisation.