Forecast: 19 million inhabitants in 2039

© Hollandse Hoogte / David Rozing
According to the latest forecast by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the population of the Netherlands will continue to grow over the next few decades, to nearly 19.6 million inhabitants by 2060. The 18 millionth inhabitant is expected to arrive in 2024; the 19 millionth in 2039. By 2040, the current number of people aged 80 and over will have doubled.

The population forecast aims to describe the most likely future development of the Dutch population. In this forecast, CBS uses a simulation model which uses research assumptions regarding births, deaths, immigration and emigration as the basis for projections.

The forecast figures are subject to uncertainties. For example, the number of migrants may fluctuate sharply from year to year. It is also uncertain whether the average life span will continue to rise at the same pace and whether Dutch households will keep their preference for having two children. In all likelihood, the population will reach between 18.1 and 21.2 million by 2060.

Population, 1 January
 Observation (x million)Forecast (x million)Forecast interval 95% (x million)Forecast interval 67% (x million)
198014.091
198114.209
198214.286
198314.340
198414.395
198514.454
198614.529
198714.615
198814.715
198914.805
199014.893
199115.010
199215.129
199315.239
199415.342
199515.424
199615.494
199715.567
199815.654
199915.760
200015.864
200115.987
200216.105
200316.193
200416.258
200516.306
200616.334
200716.358
200816.405
200916.486
201016.575
201116.656
201216.730
201316.780
201416.829
201516.901
201616.979
201717.082
201817.181
201917.282
20201)17.415
202117.55017.457 - 17.64917.506 - 17.604
202217.68517.535 - 17.85317.609 - 17.775
202317.80917.605 - 18.05017.700 - 17.931
202417.92317.655 - 18.23317.784 - 18.084
202518.02817.684 - 18.41417.853 - 18.231
202618.12417.695 - 18.59717.913 - 18.363
202718.21217.709 - 18.76317.955 - 18.484
202818.29817.702 - 18.92118.003 - 18.608
202918.38117.720 - 19.07818.048 - 18.735
203018.46117.735 - 19.23518.108 - 18.863
203118.53617.733 - 19.39418.143 - 18.982
203218.60817.713 - 19.55418.168 - 19.119
203318.67517.723 - 19.71918.196 - 19.209
203418.73817.730 - 19.85618.217 - 19.303
203518.79717.706 - 20.02418.243 - 19.395
203618.85317.712 - 20.17518.262 - 19.497
203718.90417.677 - 20.31418.273 - 19.584
203818.95217.650 - 20.40818.274 - 19.682
203918.99617.612 - 20.54518.267 - 19.778
204019.03617.601 - 20.67618.263 - 19.868
204119.07317.574 - 20.76518.273 - 19.953
204219.10717.544 - 20.87318.277 - 20.042
204319.13817.471 - 20.99318.272 - 20.120
204419.16717.412 - 21.12818.251 - 20.189
204519.19417.350 - 21.21918.264 - 20.248
204619.21917.314 - 21.31018.243 - 20.301
204719.24217.272 - 21.39518.223 - 20.357
204819.26417.245 - 21.46118.202 - 20.414
204919.28517.203 - 21.50718.197 - 20.452
205019.30617.149 - 21.57718.181 - 20.509
205119.32617.123 - 21.71718.176 - 20.563
205219.34617.088 - 21.84118.134 - 20.621
205319.36717.052 - 21.91018.107 - 20.664
205419.38817.010 - 22.02518.097 - 20.725
205519.41016.926 - 22.17818.078 - 20.776
205619.43416.885 - 22.20018.083 - 20.871
205719.46016.847 - 22.25018.067 - 20.931
205819.48816.802 - 22.42418.080 - 20.982
205919.51916.763 - 22.52318.055 - 21.066
206019.55216.762 - 22.61218.067 - 21.155
1) The 2020 figure is an estimate.

Growth due to migration

According to the forecast, the population will grow by 105 thousand per year on average over the next decade. By the year 2030, it is expected to have grown by 1 million. The larger part of this growth is attributable to more people immigrating than emigrating. Until 2030, an average 296 thousand immigrants per year are expected to arrive in the Netherlands, while 214 thousand emigrants are expected to leave the country. These are partly former immigrants leaving again. In this case, the expected annual migration balance is 82 thousand on average, 27 thousand up on the period 2010-2019.

Furthermore, births will exceed deaths over the next decade. According to the forecast, the number of live births will rise by an average 185 thousand per year between 2019 and 2030. Due to an ageing population, mortality will go up as well, by 163 thousand on average during this period. Further population growth is expected after 2030, but at a slower pace. Emigration will continue to rise and from 2039 onwards, deaths will exceed births.

Population dynamics, averages per year
 Immigration (x 1,000)Emigration (x 1,000)Births (x 1,000)Deaths (x 1,000)Population growth (x 1,000)
2000-2009118.6-107.8192.9-137.666.2
2010-2019200.9-146.3173.8-144.584.0
2020-2029296.0-214.4185.5-162.5104.6
2030-2039300.4-255.2197.9-185.657.5
2040-2049298.5-257.8188.9-202.727.0
2050-2059299.1-259.3194.2-209.324.6

Twice as many people over the age of 80

The number of over-80s is projected to increase from 0.8 million at the end 2019 to 1.2 million in 2030. An expected 1.6 million will be reached in 2040, i.e. double the current number. According to the forecast, the number will then go up to nearly 2.1 million at the most around 2053 before declining again.

The group of 65 to 79-year-olds currently comprises 2.6 million persons. This number is likely to hit 3 million by the year 2029. After this, it is expected to grow to nearly 3.3 million around 2038, after which a decline is anticipated. The increase in the number of elderly people is not only due to the post-war baby boom but also to higher life expectancy, which is expected to rise even further. The share of over-65s in the population will rise from 19 percent at the end of 2019 to just under 26 percent at the highest around 2040.

Fewer 20 to 64-year-olds

It is expected that the number of 20 to 64-year-olds will increase from 10.2 million currently to 10.5 million in 2025. The number is projected to decline after 2025, to 10.1 million around 2040, after which it will probably go up again to 10.6 million in 2060. It is likely that the number of 0 to 19-year-olds will continue to fluctuate around 4 million in the future. This is approximately 21 percent of the population.

Population by age group, 1 January
 0 to 19 yrs (x million)20 to 64 yrs (x million)65 to 79 yrs (x million)80 yrs and over (x million)
20003.8739.8391.6520.500
20103.92810.1081.8900.648
2020*3.77810.2442.5710.822
20303.82410.3823.0201.235
20404.08210.0963.2441.615
20504.11510.3182.8662.007
20604.08510.5042.9552.007
* provisional figure

Population in 2060: 931 thousand inhabitants more than in previous forecast

Population forecasts are adjusted on an annual basis, in line with the latest developments and new insights. Compared to the forecast in 2018, adjustments have been made mainly in the area of migration and births. In the future, not only immigration is expected to rise; the number of emigrants will go up as well. According to the new forecast, the expected number of children over the long-term will go down from 1.75 to 1.70 per woman.

As a result of the adjustments, the current forecast projects a higher number of inhabitants for the year 2060 than the previous forecast (+931 thousand). The number of 20 to 64-year-olds will be higher in particular: by 600 thousand. This is because the current forecast assumes more immigration than the previous one.

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