Population statistics

What does the survey comprise?

Target

Population statistics provide information about the size and composition of the population of the Netherlands as at 1 January. In addition, the statistics provide information about population dynamics from year to year due to births, deaths and migration.

Target population

The observations are based on data received by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) from each municipal personal records database. These data concern all persons who are included in the personal records database (the 'de jure' population). In principle, all persons residing in the Netherlands and intending to stay for at least four months are included in the population register of the municipality where their residential address is located (the place of residence). Persons who belong to the 'de jure' population of the Netherlands, but to whom no permanent place of residence can be allocated, have been included in the personal records database of the municipality of The Hague.
The Municipal Personal Records Database Act (GBA) forms the basis for municipal population registers. As of January 2014, this act has been replaced by the Personal Records Database Act (BRP).

Statistical unit

Persons.

Starting date/year of survey

CBS population statistics have existed since 31 December 1829, when the first census was carried out. Complete time series for various subtopics have been available on StatLine as of 1950. From 1995 onwards, population statistics have been based on the municipal personal records databases. This survey description refers to data from the personal records databases of all municipalities.

Frequency

  1. Fortnightly, provisional and final figures.
  2. Monthly, provisional and final figures.
  3. Quarterly, provisional and final figures.
  4. Annual, final figures.
  5. Biennial, final figures.

Publication strategy

  1. Every two weeks, provisional figures for the two weeks before the current week number minus one are published. Provisional figures from previous weeks may also changeThe provisional figures will be replaced by definitive figures in the fourth quarter (Q4).
  2. Provisional figures for the previous month are published at the end of each month. Provisional figures over previous months may change at the same time. The provisional figures are replaced by definitive figures in the fourth quarter.
  3. In the month following a quarter, provisional figures for the months in that quarter are published. Provisional figures over previous months may change at the same time. Provisional figures over the previous year are replaced by final figures in the fourth quarter.
  4. Final figures for the previous year are published once a year.
  5. Every two years, final figures for the two previous years are published.

How is the survey conducted?

Type of research

Integral observation.

Observation method

Electronic data transmission by GBA-V, an internal organisational unit of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations.

Delimitation and processing of registrations

CBS receives daily reports about demographic events (birth, death, migration, marriage, etc.). Usually some time elapses between the actual demographic event and the moment this information reaches CBS. This is usually only one to five days in the case of live births and deaths, but may take a few weeks and sometimes months in the case of migration or marriage.
When publishing the number of demographic events in a particular statistical year, CBS limits the extent to which data received at a later stage are processed. Up until 2010, all subsequently received data on the statistical year until February 15 of the following year were still included. Data on the statistical year which arrived at CBS after 15 February of the following year was ignored. This actually led to a slight underestimation of the number of demographic events over that statistical year.
As of the 2010 statistical year, CBS has widened the extent to which subsequently received data on demographic events are processed.

How does this work?
As was the case for the 2009 statistical year, CBS included data for the 2010 statistical year that it received until 15 February 2011. However, CBS now also counts data on demographic events which occurred in 2009 but which came in after 15 February 2010 and before 15 February 2011, and which is therefore no longer processed in statistical year 2009, towards the 2010 statistical year. This results in a more accurate approximation of the number of demographic events that occurred in 2010. Data on demographic events in 2009 which are received after 15 February 2011 has been and will continue to be ignored. These numbers are negligible.
The underlying reason for taking 15 February as the key reference date is the annual official population count per municipality in the Netherlands, one of CBS’ statutory tasks. The date 15 February is also taken as the key reference date for the population count. Using the reference date 15 February for both the population count and the delimitation of demographic events ensures the best possible alignment of both population status and demographic events.

A few examples to clarify this:
On 5 December 2010, a baby is born
On 6 December 2010, the birth is registered with the municipality.
On 6 December 2010, CBS receives the birth registration record.
This baby was and is counted towards the 2010 statistical year.

On 30 December 2009, a baby is born.
On 2 January 2010, the birth is registered with the municipality.
On 3 January 2010, CBS receives the birth registration record.
This baby was and is counted towards the 2009 statistical year.

On 30 December 2009, a baby is born.
On 22 February 2010, the birth is registered with the municipality.
On 23 February 2010, CBS receives the birth registration record.
This baby was not counted previously and will be counted towards the 2010 statistical year from 2010 onwards.

On 30 December 2009, a baby is born.
On 2 February 2 2011, the birth is registered with the municipality.
On 3 February 2011, CBS receives the birth registration record.
This baby was not counted previously and is counted towards the 2010 statistical year 2010 in 2010.

On 30 December 2009, a baby is born.
On 22 February 2011, the birth is registered with the municipality.
On 23 February 2011, CBS receives the birth registration record.
This baby was not counted previously and is also not counted towards the 2010 statistical year (or subsequent years).
This information has been and will be ignored.

Due to this revised counting method, all demographic statistics will have slightly higher numbers of demographic events that are counted systematically .
In 2010, this resulted in the following percentage changes in the number of demographic events which effectively took place in 2009:

  • Live births 0.13%
  • Deaths 0.05%
  • Removals 0.08%
  • Immigrations 0.47%
  • Emigrations 0.26%
  • Administrative corrections 1.38%
  • Marriages 2.33%
  • Divorces 1.45%
  • Widowhood 1.03%
  • Nationality changes 0.90%

Additional estimates related to unknown countries of birth
Over the course of 2014, the number of immigrants with an unknown country of birth increased. This is linked to persons registered in the so-called Registration of Non-residents (RNI) in the municipal personal records database. As of January 2014, all immigrants whose birth country is unknown are allocated the country of origin as the country of birth in provisional immigration statistics.
In order to arrive at an unambiguous calculation of net foreign migration (immigration minus emigration), it has been decided to estimate the country of birth of emigrants whose birth country is unknown starting January 2014. This means that in the provisional emigration statistics, if an emigrant’s country of birth is unknown, the country of destination is considered to be the country of birth.
Administrative corrections (i.e. inclusions and removals) cannot be estimated in this way because, by definition, these corrections have no known country of origin (inclusions) or country of destination (removals). As a result, unknown countries of birth do still occur in emigration figures including the balance of administrative corrections (and therefore also in the migration balance including the balance of administrative corrections).

Respondents

GBA-V, an internal organisational unit of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations.

Sample size

Not applicable.

Checking and correction methods

Predefined rules and criteria are used to check for errors and inconsistencies. In the event of incomplete data, the missing data are imputed.

Weighting

Not applicable.

What is the quality of the results?

Accuracy

Information received by CBS is not always complete. In those cases, an estimate is generated of the missing data.

Sequential comparability

The data are sequentially comparable.

Description of quality strategy

CBS checks for completeness, internal consistency and plausibility of the figures.