Big cities to push Dutch population growth in coming years
It is especially in the large and medium-sized cities that the population will continue to grow in the coming years, according to researchers from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). They also expect growth in the suburbs around the major cities. Many municipalities in the north and east of the country will shrink.
The Netherlands population will grow to 18.9 million inhabitants in 2035, 1.3 million more than at the start of 2022. The statisticians emphasized that this is a forecast that could turn out higher or lower. Developments like immigration and housing construction are difficult to predict. For the specific prognosis per municipality, the researchers compared 2021 with 2035.
The researchers expect almost 70 percent of the population growth to happen in municipalities with 100,000 inhabitants or more. Amsterdam is expected to grow by 175,000 inhabitants by 2035, crossing the 1 million residents mark by 2030. Of the four largest cities, Utrecht will see the most substantial relative growth at 26 percent.
“The residents of the large cities are relatively young and are increasing because, on balance, more children are born than people die,” the researchers explained why large cities will grow the most. “They are also a major attraction for immigrants, including EU migrant workers, expats, and international students.”
Of all the municipalities, Ouder-Amstel, adjacent to Amsterdam, will see the most relative growth at almost 41 percent. The researchers also expect significant growth in other peripheral municipalities like Zuidplas near Rotterdam and Rijswijk near The Hague.
CBS and PBL expect the population of 54 municipalities to shrink by more than 2.5 percent by 2035. This will mayinly happen in the northeast of Groningen, Drenthe, the Achterhoek, and Limburg. “These municipalities are also aging more rapidly,” the researchers said. “Young people move elsewhere for study or work.”
Aging is also a development that will be noticeable throughout the country. The four largest municipalities have aged less than the small ones, but here too, the researchers expect an increase in older residents. They expect the percentage of elderly people to be highest in shrinking municipalities.
Reporting by ANP