Young families increasingly leaving Dutch cities

Families with young children - especially those with higher incomes and with no migration background - seem to be fleeing the large Dutch cities. In all four large cities more young families moved out of the municipality than in smaller municipalities, Statistics Netherlands reported on Wednesday.

Last year 12 percent of families with kids under the age of four moved out of Amsterdam, 9 percent left Utrecht, 8 percent left Rotterdam, and 6 percent left The Hague. Medium-sized municipalities had an average of 5 percent of its young families move away last year, and small municipalities 4 percent. According to the stats office, the percentage of young families moving away from the city increased every year from 2014, except for a small decrease in 2018.

Families move mostly when their children are not yet attending primary school, and tend to move to smaller municipalities in the region. More families from all four large cities moved to other municipalities than vice versa. In almost all Dutch municipalities, couples with children move much less than couples without children. Amsterdam is the only municipality in the country from which young families move away more often than couples without children. In Rotterdam and Utrecht couples with children move away about as often as those without. The Hague most closely resembles smaller municipalities, in that young families leave the municipality considerably less often than couples without children.

According to the stats office, families' departure from the cities likely have to do with cities having less living space than smaller municipalities. Families with no garden or fewer bedrooms than family members are more likely to move. 29 percent of large city dwelling families with no garden want to move, compared to 12 percent of those who have gardens. And 39 percent of city families with fewer rooms than family members want to move, compared to 11 percent with enough rooms in the house.

Statistics Netherlands found that young families with higher household incomes are more likely to move away from the big cities. Last year 11 percent of young families in the top 20 percent income group moved away from the big cities, compared to 5 percent in the lowest 20 percent income group. Young families with a migration background are more likely to stick around in the city. 4 percent of Dutch-Turkish and Dutch-Moroccan families left the big cities last year, against 12 percent of families with no migration background.