Higher than expected birth rate pushes Dutch population to 17.5 million
The population of the Netherlands has reached the 17.5 million mark. After years of the population growth being completely attributable to migration, the number of babies born in the first months of this year was higher than expected, Statistics Netherlands' population counter showed.
The higher than expected birth rate came just about nine months after the first coronavirus lockdown was implemented in the Netherlands. This may be because people could more easily envision combining work with a child once they were forced to work from home, Statistics Netherlands chief sociologist Tanja Traag said to RTL Nieuws.
"It could also be that people just had time left after the workday and the errands and spent time together," Traag said to the broadcaster. "It could also be that people were looking for togetherness in times of crisis, the small network of a family. But we have no comparison material, because we have never known such a period."
The Statistics Netherlands population counter gives a "substantiated estimate" based on the most recent population figures - from April - and calculations on growth based on population trends. These include seasonal effects on births and deaths, and immigration and emigration. The coronavirus crisis definitely made this calculation more complicated, Traag said.
"Knowledge migrants from India, for example, stayed away, they did not come to the Netherlands. Other groups left the Netherlands. Mortality is now back to the level you would expect, but it has been high recently," she explained.
The Netherlands hit the 16 million residents marked in 2001. The counter topped 17 million in 2016. The Dutch population is expected to continue to grow in the coming decades. The stats office thinks the 18 million residents mark will be reached sometime between 2024 and 2028. By 2070, the Netherlands will have between 18.7 million and 22 million inhabitants, the statisticians expect.