Population up to 17.8 million, mainly due to migration

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People shopping in the centre of Rotterdam
© Hollandse Hoogte / David Rozing
Over the first three quarters of 2022, the population of the Netherlands grew by 191 thousand. This is more than double the growth over the same period last year. Immigration was up in particular, with a 30-percent share consisting of people from Ukraine. At the beginning of October, the Netherlands had close to 17.8 million inhabitants. This is evident from provisional figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Population dynamics, January-September
Groep2022* (x 1,000)2021 (x 1,000)2020 (x 1,000)2019 (x 1,000)
Live births126.3134.8127.3128.2
Population growth191.092.957.7103.2
* Provisional figures

Net migration at 188.5 thousand

The population of the Netherlands grew mainly due to external migration in the first three quarters of 2022. In the period up to and including September, 317.9 thousand immigrants settled in the country. Over 97 thousand of them came to the Netherlands because of the war in Ukraine. Emigration as well was up on one year previously, with 129.4 thousand people moving abroad. On balance (immigration minus emigration), 188.5 thousand new inhabitants were added due to external migration. This is nearly 2.5 times as many as in the same period of 2021. Not taking migration from and to Ukraine into account, the migration balance would have been 102.5 thousand, i.e. over 22 thousand more than one year previously.

Fewer live births, more deaths

Up to September inclusive, fewer children were born than in the same period last year. At the same time, mortality was relatively high, also exceeding the levels of 2020 and 2021. Over a longer period, there were more deaths than expected. During the first nine months of 2022, births exceeded deaths by 2.5 thousand. Natural population growth (births minus deaths) was relatively low, with a negative balance in the first half of 2022.

Population dynamics, January-September
JaartalPopulation growth (x 1,000)Natural growth (x 1,000)Net migration (x 1,000)
*Provisional figures

More immigrants, mainly from Ukraine

This year, immigration levels are high, partly as a result of the situation in Ukraine. Especially in the first months following Russia’s invasion on 24 February 2022, relatively many people came to the Netherlands from Ukraine. In the third quarter as well, still over 18 thousand Ukrainian refugees registered with a Dutch municipality.

Most of the migrants arriving from Ukraine were born there or in the former Soviet Union. In addition to immigration from the (former) Soviet Union, there were also more immigrants born in other parts of the world who settled in the Netherlands. The number of Asian migrants rose in particular, compared to January-September last year. For example, more citizens from India, Turkey and Syria registered here, but also from Afghanistan.

Fewer Dutch-born migrants returned to the Netherlands. Apart from immigrants from the (former) Soviet Union, immigrants from other European countries formed the largest group.

Immigration by country of birth, January-September
Herkomst2022* (x 1,000)2021 (x 1,000)2020 (x 1,000)2019 (x 1,000)
Netherlands ¹⁾
Americas and Oceania23.719.917.824.2
Asia ²⁾63.743.227.745.8
Europe ³⁾90.381.676.388.1
(Former) Soviet Union102.
1) Dutch-born or born abroad with two Dutch parents 2) Asia incl. Turkey 3) Europe excl. the Netherlands, (former) Soviet Union and Turkey * Provisional figures

Also more emigration

Not all immigrants coming to the Netherlands stay here. Some remigrate or move elsewhere. In the period January-September, more emigrants left than in the same period in previous years, although the number rose less sharply than the number of immigrants. Emigration picked up most notably in the third quarter. This partly concerns refugees from Ukraine who left the Netherlands again. Of those who settled here after 24 February 2022, over 11 thousand have already emigrated again. The majority returned to Ukraine. Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom were also frequent destination countries.

The emigrants also included more people who were born in the Netherlands or elsewhere in Europe compared to the same period last year. On the other hand, there were fewer Asian-born emigrants. Their number fell sharply after the coronavirus pandemic broke out in 2020. With more Asian migrants coming to the Netherlands, the number of migrants leaving is slowly increasing again. In the third quarter of 2022, emigration from this group was higher than in the third quarter of 2021.

Emigration by country of birth, January-September
Herkomst2022* (x 1,000)2021 (x 1,000)2020 (x 1,000)2019 (x 1,000)
Netherlands ¹⁾
Americas and Oceania9.
Asia ²⁾14.815.918.519.8
Europe ³⁾53.148.652.952.0
(Former) Soviet Union14.
1) Dutch-born or born abroad with two Dutch parents 2) Asia incl. Turkey 3) Europe excl. the Netherlands, (former) Soviet Union and Turkey * Provisional figures

More Dutch migrants leaving than returning

Net migration of Dutch-born migrants was negative through September 2022, with emigration exceeding immigration by 11.9 thousand. Negative net migration was 8 thousand higher than in the same period one year previously. In 2020 and 2021, the first years following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, fewer Dutch nationals departed and the migration balance was positive temporarily.