Thursday 30 March 2023

NL population hits 17.8 million as deaths outstrip births for first time

More people died than were born in the Netherlands for the first time since 1900, national statistics agency CBS said on Wednesday. The total growth last year – taking the population up to 17.8 million – was therefore entirely down to migration, the CBS said.

The figures, which include estimates for December, are an update on an earlier forecast published in October.

In total, 168,000 babies were born in the Netherlands in 2022 while 169,000 people died. ‘The fact that the population actually shrank for the first time is rather special,’ CBS analyst Dick ter Steege told NOS radio. The oldest comparable figures the CBS has date from 1900.

The fact that more people died than expected is partly down to coronavirus, but no explanation has been found for some deaths.

‘The birth rate has been falling and deaths increasing for years, so it could be a temporary dip,’ Ter Steege said. ‘But if the excess deaths stop next year then more babies will be born than people dying.’

In total, the population of the Netherlands increased by 227,000 last year, more than double the 2021 figure when coronavirus measures slowed immigration.

In total, 402,000 people moved to the Netherlands in 2022, up 150,000 on 2021, and 174,000 people left. Ukrainians fleeing the war accounted for a large part of the total increase followed by people from Syria, Turkey, India and Poland. By December 1, 89,000 Ukrainian nationals were registered with a Dutch local authority.

The population fell in just nine of the 344 Dutch local authority areas – including the Wadden Sea island of Terschelling.

The biggest growth was recorded on the former fishing island of Urk, with an increase of 13 people per 1,000. Almere and Zeewolde, also in Flevoland, also absorbed more than the average number of newcomers.

The population of Amsterdam grew by around 38,000, including the 20,000 people living in the nearby town of Weesp, which is now part of the capital. Amsterdam now has a population of 921,000, the Parool reported.

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