The population of the Netherlands reached 16.9 million at the end of 2015, a rise of nearly 80,000 on 2014, the national statistics office CBS said on Wednesday.
The increase is almost entirely due to immigration, the CBS said. In total, 203,000 people moved to the Netherlands last year, a rise of 20,000 on 2014. At the same time, 146,000 people left.
Most of the new arrivals, 22,000, came from Poland but 13,500 Poles also left the country, the CBS said. The immigration total covers refugees who have been in the country for at least six months and includes 21,000 Syrians. The next biggest population group came from India – 6,400.
The rise in the population was dampened by the unusually high number of deaths, prompted by the winter flu epidemic, and low number of births, the CBS said.
In total, 147,000 people died and there were almost 170,000 births, adding just 22,000 to the total population. This is the lowest increase since 1871, the CBS said.
The CBS said 43,000 people applied for asylum last year and 14,000 arrived to join their families. The total increase in new refugee numbers is still below the highest number ever – 52,500 – at the height of the Yugoslavian civil war in 1994.
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