Population increase in Q1 not due to natural growth

The population of the Netherlands grew by 19 thousand in Q1 2017, according to the most recent population data available at Statistics Netherlands (CBS). More people settled in the Netherlands than left the country, causing an increase in the number of Dutch residents of around 21 thousand. Natural population growth was negative: deaths exceeded births by more than 2 thousand.

Population dynamics, Q1 2017

Growth rate remains high

The population growth in Q1 was nearly 2.5 thousand below the level of the same period last year, but the growth rate is still high compared to previous years, mainly due to large foreign migration. During the first few months of 2017, 54 thousand individuals arrived in the Netherlands and 33 thousand left the country. The largest group of migrants were born in Syria (on balance over 6 thousand). With almost 2.5 thousand, the number of Polish immigrants also remains high.

Mortality relatively high, few babies born

Natural population growth has been fairly small in recent years. In fact, there was a decline in the first few months of 2017; 40 thousand babies were born, but more than 42 thousand people died.

Natural growth, net migration and total population growth, Q1
 Natural growthNet migrationTotal population growth
200012.811.525.2
200112.711.724.4
200210.88.118.8
2003121.613.5
200410.6-5.94.7
20057.6-5.72
20069-9.1-0.1
20079-1.97.1
20087.84.912.7
20096.9915.9
20107.86.214
20119.1918.1
20125.227.3
20131.53.95.4
20146.7915.7
2015-1.510.79.2
20160.920.721.6
2017-2.221.419.1

The negative natural growth is related to a relatively high number of deaths, which was almost 3 thousand higher during the first ten weeks of 2017 than in the same period last year. The mortality rate was particularly high among older people, while the number of births was relatively low. Last year, the fertility rate per woman averaged 1.66 children, versus 1.77 less than a decade ago. Currently, women in their twenties have fewer children than ten years ago. If women gave birth to as many children as a decade ago, natural population growth would not have been negative at present.

Deaths and births per week
 DeathsBirths
2016 131753306
2016 230773142
2016 330633186
2016 432023217
2016 531043258
2016 630363255
2016 730303234
2016 833183088
2016 931853161
2016 1031523226
2016 1130623100
2016 1230303132
2016 1330373165
2016 1430123240
2016 1527703200
2016 1627523180
2016 1727433239
2016 1827533282
2016 1929543359
2016 2026733129
2016 2127123296
2016 2226843278
2016 2325883295
2016 2426213329
2016 2525993466
2016 2626113438
2016 2726943571
2016 2826283588
2016 2927533606
2016 3025403535
2016 3125023503
2016 3225553490
2016 3325703443
2016 3427023524
2016 3525913482
2016 3625853498
2016 3727263618
2016 3825013492
2016 3926633456
2016 4026863416
2016 4129323309
2016 4227443299
2016 4329513171
2016 4427313169
2016 4529073141
2016 4628993140
2016 4729083094
2016 4829503111
2016 4930403008
2016 5031283134
2016 5130713240
2016 5233302853
2017 135663160
2017 236313141
2017 334873134
2017 436223341
2017 535693230
2017 634453208
2017 734093141
2017 833132951
2017 931453132
2017 1030452982
2017 1128342982
2017 1227653121
2017 1328163090

As a result of population ageing, CBS anticipates to see more periods each year when deaths exceed births. However, according to the most recent population forecast, the point where natural growth turns into natural decline will not occur until 2038. From then onwards, the annual mortality rate will be higher than the annual birth rate.

Natural population decline in Europe

In various European countries, deaths already outnumber births on an annual basis. In Germany, for example, natural population growth has been negative for quite a while. Germany’s population is ageing more rapidly than that of the Netherlands. The share of over-65s is higher and the share of fertile women is smaller in Germany. German women also have fewer children; 1.50 children per woman on average. The situation in Belgium, where natural population growth is also still positive, is more or less the same as in the Netherlands. In 2015, natural population growth across the European Union was negative for the first time. This was triggered by an ageing population and the relatively low number of children per woman in many European countries.

Natural population growth, 2015
Natural population growth, 2015
 Series 0
EU 28-117.3
France200.6
United Kingdom175.5
Ireland35.5
Sweden24
Netherlands23.4
Belgium11.7
Denmark5.7
Cyprus3.3
Finland3
Luxembourg2.1
Slovakia1.8
Austria1.3
Malta0.9
Slovenia0.8
Czech Republic-0.4
Estonia-1.3
Spain-2
Latvia-6.5
Lithuania-10.3
Croatia-16.7
Portugal-23
Poland-25.6
Greece-29.4
Hungary-39.4
Bulgaria-44.2
Romania-63.8
Italy-161.8
Germany-187.6

Sources