CBS introducing new population classification by origin

© Hollandse Hoogte / Ramon van Flymen
As of 2022, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) is adopting a different approach when publishing data on people currently referred to as having a western or non-western migration background. Greater emphasis will be placed on where a person was born and less on where their parents were born. The term ‘migration background’ will no longer be used in this regard. The main categories western/non-western will be replaced by categories based on continents and a few countries that share a specific migration history with the Netherlands.
From the start of 2022, the new classification will be gradually implemented in statistics and publications. The article ‘New classification of population by origin. Replacing classification based on migration background and the concepts western/non-western’ elaborates on the new classification and how it was created. The new classification by origin consists of two components: ‘Born in the Netherlands or abroad’ and ‘Country of origin’.

Component 1: Born in the Netherlands or abroad

The classification Born in the Netherlands or abroad first looks at whether a resident was born in the Netherlands or abroad, and then where the parents were born. From now on, foreign-born residents are called migrants by CBS; residents born in the Netherlands with one or two parents born abroad are called children of migrants.

The classification of persons by their own country of birth and that of their parents will replace the concepts of first and second generation. Greater emphasis will also be placed on whether one or both parents were born in the Netherlands or abroad. The term ‘migration background’ will no longer be used in this regard.

4.2 Born in the Netherlands or born abroadFigure 4.2 Born in the Netherlands or born abroad

Component 2: Country of origin

For the country of origin, a new classification has been created which is based on continents and a few countries with a specific migration history. This will replace the concepts of western/non-western migration background. Traditional countries of origin, with which the Netherlands shares a special migration history and where relatively many inhabitants and/or their parents were born, are distinguished separately in the classification.

The classification by country of origin comprises four levels:

• Level 1: The Netherlands, Europe (excluding the Netherlands), Outside Europe
• Level 2: Outside Europe consists of two categories: traditional countries of origin (Turkey, Morocco, Suriname, Indonesia and the Dutch Caribbean) and Other – Outside Europe.
• Level 3: Other – Outside Europe is broken down further by Other – Africa, Other – Asia, and Other – Americas and Oceania.
• Level 4: individual countries

4.3 Classification of country of originFigure 4.3 Classification of country of origin