Population up by 15.5 thousand in Q1 2020

© CBS / Nikki van Toorn
In Q1 2020, the population of the Netherlands grew less rapidly than in the same quarter last year. 15.5 thousand inhabitants were added, i.e. 8.7 thousand down on Q1 2019. Population growth was low in March in particular, with more deaths than births but also a decline in immigration. In addition, emigration was already up from the start of 2020 compared to the same period last year. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of provisional figures.

The population increase is entirely on account of external migration. In the first three months of 2020, over 59 thousand immigrants registered with a Dutch municipality. At the same time, almost 41 thousand people left the country. On balance, more than 18 thousand new Dutch inhabitants were added due to external migration. In Q1, deaths exceeded births by nearly 3 thousand.

Population growth, Q1
Bevolkingsgroei2018 (x 1,000)2019* (x 1,000)2020* (x 1,000)
Births39.839.740.4
Deaths45.640.543.2
Immigration5461.159.1
Emigration36.136.140.8
Growth12.024.215.5
* provisional figures

Higher mortality in March

In week 12 (ending 22 March), mortality increased rapidly due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Natural population growth was negative in March, with deaths exceeding births by nearly 3 thousand. Up until then, deaths and births were equally high in number. Mortality was still high in the month of April; natural population growth is expected to be negative.

Births and deaths, per week*
JaarWeekBirths (x 1,000)Deaths (x 1,000)
201923.23.3
201933.23.2
201943.23.2
201953.33.1
201963.03.2
201973.03.3
201983.13.2
201992.93.1
2019103.03.2
2019113.13.2
2019123.13.0
2019133.13.0
2019143.12.9
2019153.32.9
2019163.23.0
2019173.13.0
2019183.22.8
2019193.22.8
2019203.12.8
2019213.22.9
2019223.32.7
2019233.32.7
2019243.32.6
2019253.42.7
2019263.42.8
2019273.52.7
2019283.52.8
2019293.32.6
2019303.53.0
2019313.52.7
2019323.42.6
2019333.42.6
2019343.52.6
2019353.52.8
2019363.42.6
2019373.62.6
2019383.62.6
2019393.62.8
2019403.42.7
2019413.42.9
2019423.32.9
2019433.12.9
2019443.32.9
2019453.23.0
2019463.23.1
2019473.23.0
2019483.13.0
2019493.03.0
2019503.03.2
2019513.13.2
2019522.73.0
202023.23.4
202033.23.2
202043.23.0
202053.23.2
202063.13.2
202073.13.2
202083.23.0
202093.13.1
2020103.23.1
2020113.03.2
2020123.03.6
2020133.04.4
2020143.15.1
2020154.9
* provisional figures

Immigration down in March

Over the first two months of 2020, immigration was at the same relatively high level of 2019. However, emigration was higher than last year. On balance, net population growth in January and February due to external migration was lower than in 2019.
Immigration fell in March while emigration was at a higher level than last year, resulting in a further decline in net migration. Overall, population growth in Q1 due to migration stood at a similar level as in 2018.

Migration, Q1
MigratieMaand2018 (x 1,000)2019* (x 1,000)2020* (x 1,000)
ImmigrationJanuary18.421.422.1
ImmigrationFebruary19.821.221.3
ImmigrationMarch15.718.415.7
Emigration 1)January13.313.615.7
Emigration 1)February10.810.912.1
Emigration 1)March1211.612.9
* provisional figures 1)including administrative corrections

More native Dutch immigrants in March

In March, the number of immigrants dropped across all origin groups. On the other hand, immigration rose among people with a native Dutch background, whereas emigration by native Dutch people was relatively low compared to the same period last year. In March, the native Dutch migration balance was positive, which is unusual for this time of year. Native Dutch immigration (5.6 thousand) and emigration (5.8 thousand) over the entire quarter were virtually equal while net emigration was lower than in previous years.

Migration balance, Q1
Werelddeel2020* (x 1,000)2019* (x 1,000)2018 (x 1,000)
Europe (excl.
Netherlands)
8.813.68.9
Asia4.15.54.2
Americas33.73
Africa2.82.72.5
Oceania0.10.10.1
Netherlands-0.2-0.6-0.8
* provisional figures

The migration balance of people with an African background increased slightly as well. The number of immigrants was higher in January and February compared to 2019. This was no longer the case in March, however.

Fewer Polish migrants

Migrants with a Polish background still form the largest group, although this group has declined on last year. In Q1 2020, there were nearly 2 thousand more Polish nationals settling in than leaving the Netherlands. Polish net migration still amounted to over 3 thousand in the same quarter last year. This downward trend set in earlier: in January, February as well as in March, the number of Polish immigrants was lower while emigration was higher year-on-year. Up to and including February, the migration balance was at the same level as in 2018; in March, it dropped below this level. Altogether, there were 6.6 thousand immigrants and 4.6 thousand emigrants with a Polish background in Q1 2020.

Indian migrants constitute the second largest group. In this group, net migration only started falling in March, while the number of Indian immigrants was down year-on-year. The same trend was seen among Turkish migrants. As a result, the migration balance in this group did not exceed last year’s level but remained virtually stable.

Top 5 migration balance by migration background, Q1
Land2020* (x 1,000)2019* (x 1,000)2018 (x 1,000)
Poland2.03.32.3
India1.21.41.1
Turkey1.01.10.7
Syria1.01.41.3
(former) Soviet Union1.01.40.9
* provisional figures

Registration of migration flows

The figures in this news release are based on information taken from the Personal Records Database (BRP). People residing in the Netherlands for more than four months are required to register as a resident. People are required to deregister if they reside abroad for more than eight out of twelve consecutive months. Asylum seekers are able to register with a Dutch municipality after six months, or earlier after receiving a residence permit. In general, some time elapses between the departure or residence date and the moment when this data reaches CBS.

At this point in time, the provisional figures have been processed up to and including March. In the week of 16 March, Europe closed its borders for non-European residents; Dutch borders were closed for non-European residents on 19 March. This limited the possibilities for travel to and from the Netherlands. The provisional figures reflect this downward immigration trend from the following week onwards. Developments in emigration figures are less unequivocal. With the April data, Statistics Netherlands expects to obtain a clearer picture of the effects of the coronavirus epidemic on migration flows. It is not yet clear what the impact of the epidemic will be on total population growth over 2020.

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