Business demography according to the European standard

What does the survey comprise?


The purpose of business demography according to the European standard is to present
data on business dynamics, divided over several themes:

  • the population of active enterprises;
  • enterprise births;
  • enterprise survivals (followed up to five years after birth);
  • enterprise deaths;
  • high-growth enterprises;
  • demography of employer enterprises.

Description of domain

Statistics Netherlands (CBS) follows the European definition of an enterprise. An enterprise may have one or multiple locations (establishments) where the business activities are performed. However, in business demography statistics, each enterprise is counted only once, regardless of the number of establishments. Separate tables are available with regional statistics on enterprise establishments.

Enterprises are classified according to industry, enterprise size and legal form. Economic activity classification is based on the enterprise’s main activity according to the so-called Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) of CBS. Size class classification is based on the number of employees working at the enterprise.

Date/year survey started

Figures on business demography according to the European standard are available from 2010 onwards.


Figures on business demography according to the European standard are updated on an annual basis.

Publication strategy

Figures on business demography according to the European standard are published up to two years prior to the current year (T – 2). Figures are final up to four years before the current year (T – 4). Figures on reporting years (T – 2) and (T – 3) are provisional.

How is the survey conducted?

Principal sources

Statistics on the theme of business demography are based on data from the General Business Register (ABR) of CBS.

Overall structure of the integration framework

The ABR is composed of a combination of registers from the Chamber of Commerce, the Tax and Customs Administration, the Netherlands Employees Insurance Agency (UWV) and the Dutch central bank (DNB). The ABR contains information on the economic activity, the size class and the legal form of an enterprise.

As of April 2014, CBS started using the Business Register (HR) as the sole source of business units. Data from the tax authorities are no longer used to define business units, but are still used to determine the economic activity of units. This methodological change has been incorporated into data from the current series (2007 onwards).

For the most complex, mostly internationally active enterprise groups, identification of enterprises or subsidiaries in the Netherlands is performed in consultation with the groups themselves. The same is true of the identification of (main) economic activities.

Quality of the results

Sequential comparability

Figures on business demography form a stable series from 2007 onwards without methodological changes or trend breaks. Therefore, figures are comparable for all periods.



Quality strategy

Manual and automated checks on events in the ABR which may affect the figures.