Population growth still determined by migration

01/08/2017 15:00
The population of the Netherlands grew by nearly 35 thousand in the first half of 2017, according to the most recent population data available at Statistics Netherlands (CBS). This growth was largely due to migration to and from abroad: net migration stood at 31 thousand. In addition, births exceeded deaths by 4 thousand.

Infographic, Population dynamics, first half of 2017

During the first six months of 2017, 100 thousand immigrants registered with a Dutch municipality, almost equivalent to the same period last year. The number of emigrants was similar as well: 69 thousand people left the Netherlands. Furthermore, 82 thousand children were born and 78 thousand people died. This natural growth was smaller than in the first six months of 2016 and, as a result, total population growth was below last year’s level as well.

Net migration remains high

Although net migration (defined as immigration minus emigration) during the first six months has not increased for the first time since 2003, it is still high in comparison with previous years. On balance, more people from North, South or Central America, and especially more European citizens settled in the Netherlands compared to 2016. By contrast, net migration from Asia and Africa was down.

Within Europe, there was an increase in net migration from the newer EU member states such as Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania. Slightly fewer immigrants arrived from Poland during the first six months, compared to the same period last year: net migration amounted to 4 thousand. However, they still remain one of the largest groups of immigrants.

Other European countries also saw more people migrating to the Netherlands than in the first half year of 2016, for example Belgium and the United Kingdom. Negative net migration of people of Dutch and German descent became smaller. Net migration of Turkish nationals changed from negative to positive. During the first six months of 2016, more migrants of Turkish descent left than settled in the Netherlands: nearly 600. In the first half of 2017, more Turkish people arrived: on balance, around 450.

While net migration from Europe and the Americas increased, it dropped among asylum migrants. During the first six months of 2017, fewer Syrians (4 thousand) settled in the Netherlands than in the same period last year: on balance, migration stood at nearly 11 thousand. Nevertheless, they are still the largest group of immigrants. The number of migrants from Ethiopia and Eritrea was also down compared to last year (altogether by nearly 1,700).

Natural growth relatively small

Between January and June, births exceeded deaths by 4 thousand. Natural population growth was therefore even smaller than its previous lowest point in the first half year of 2015. In comparison: before 2012, births exceeded deaths by 20 thousand annually during the first six months. Small natural growth was recorded particularly in the first quarter of 2017. Similar to 2015, there was a period when more people died than children were born.