Netherlands population growth nears pre-pandemic levels; Nearly 17.6 million inhabitants
The Dutch population grew at about the same rate in 2021 as in the years before the coronavirus pandemic. The number of deaths remained higher than normal, but many more children were also born. In addition, the population grew more as a result of immigration compared to 2020, reports the Statistics Netherlands (CBS).
The number of inhabitants increased by an estimated 118,000 last year to almost 17.6 million. Growth was lower than in 2019, but higher than in previous years. In 2020, the first year affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the population growth had almost halved compared to a year earlier.
The number of deaths this year was again higher than usual, mainly due to the corona virus. This was especially the case at the beginning of the year and the months following August, but the births totaled nearly 180,000, higher than the average of 170,000 in previous years.
CBS sociologist Tanja Traag previously expressed the hypothesis that, partly because of the coronavirus, more children would be born in 2021. The Dutch have started working from home much more, and were therefore more likely to achieve a different balance between work and private life. In addition, the lockdowns presumably made people focus more attention on their families.
Last year, a smaller group of immigrants still moved to the Netherlands than in 2019. At the same time, fewer people emigrated from the Netherlands to another country. As a result, population growth caused by immigration was, on balance, almost the same as the year before the coronavirus pandemic.
Fewer municipalities had to deal with contracting population numbers last year. In particular, the population has stopped declining in many municipalities in Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe. "This development fits in with the trend that has been going on since 2015: An increase in relocations from the Randstad to less densely populated parts of the country," the researchers said.
The largest proportionate growth in the number of inhabitants was in Flevoland. The statisticians pointed out that the population of this province is relatively young, which means that more children are born than people die. Moreover, Flevoland has attracted many people from other provinces.
Population growth in many large cities stalled in 2020. Due to the worldwide coronavirus measures, the influx of labor migrants and international students decreased. Normally these are important drivers of population growth in the cities. As immigration increased again, population growth picked up last year in major cities such as Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Tilburg.
The figures from Statistics Netherlands are an estimate and will be revised later when the bureau receives more information about the final weeks of 2021.
Reporting by ANP.