Population up by nearly 120 thousand in first half of 2022

People in the Vondelpark enjoying the sunshine
© Hollandse Hoogte / Nico Garstman
In the first half of 2022, the population of the Netherlands grew by 119.9 thousand. This is a sharp increase for a first half year. Immigration was up in particular. Almost 4 in 10 immigrants arrived from Ukraine, but there were also more people from other countries who settled in the Netherlands. The number of live births was lower than in the first half of last year. This is evident from provisional figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

During the first six months of this year, 195.2 thousand immigrants settled in the Netherlands, while 72.3 thousand emigrants left. On balance, external migration resulted in 122.9 thousand additional inhabitants. This is four times as many as in the first half of 2021. Total population growth was somewhat lower as deaths exceeded births. At the start of July, the Netherlands had over 17.7 million inhabitants.

Population dynamics, first half year
Groep2018 (x 1,000)2019 (x 1,000)2020 (x 1,000)2021 (x 1,000)2022* (x 1,000)
Population growth32.045.818.232.5119.9
* Provisional figures

Fewer newborns

In the first half of 2022, altogether 81.1 thousand children were born. This is 5.4 thousand fewer than in the same period in 2021. The number of deaths (84.2 thousand) was similar to one year previously. Especially in the second quarter of 2022, there was excess mortality in most weeks.

As a result, natural population growth (births minus deaths) came out negative in the first and second quarters. For a second quarter, this is unusual. Only in 2020, when the mortality peak of the first pandemic wave fell in April, was this also the case.

Natural population growth (births minus deaths), per quarter
JaarKwartaalNatural growth (x 1,000)
* Provisional figures

Twice as many immigrants as in 2021

In the first half year of 2022, especially more immigrants from outside the European Union settled in the Netherlands compared to the same period last year. Fifty-five percent of this group are refugees who have fled to the Netherlands since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. There were also more migrants from other countries, both within and outside the EU. This number was also higher than in the same period in 2019, when a record number of immigrants settled in the Netherlands.

After migrants with origins in Ukraine, Syrians formed the second largest group, followed by people from Turkey and India. Polish migrants were in fifth place.

Migration by country of birth, first half year
SoortLand2018 (x 1,000)2019 (x 1,000)2020 (x 1,000)2021 (x 1,000)2022* (x 1,000)
ImmigrationNetherlands ¹⁾15.415.615.212.111.1
ImmigrationEU ²⁾37.943.438.638.645.5
EmigrationNetherlands ¹⁾18.117.512.614.018.1
EmigrationEU ²⁾25.928.530.827.629.3
* Provisional figures 1) incl. migrants born abroad with Netherlands-born parents 2) EU excl. the United Kingdom

Emigration has picked up again

Emigration rose in the first half of 2022 as well, but less sharply than immigration. The rise in emigration is partly due to the fact that a part of the migrants from Ukraine have already left the Netherlands.

The number of people born in the Netherlands who emigrated also picked up again in 2022. This group of emigrants decreased considerably during the first pandemic wave, resulting in a positive migration balance in 2020: fewer migrants born in the Netherlands emigrated than returned. Meanwhile, the number leaving the country is again larger than the number who are returning. In the first half of 2022, on balance, 7 thousand Netherlands-born inhabitants left the country. This is over 3.5 times as many as in the same period last year.