Netherlands – Forecast: population growth picks up again.
The population of the Netherlands will continue to grow over the next five decades, to 20.6 million inhabitants in 2070.
The 18 millionth inhabitant is expected to arrive in 2025; the 19 millionth in 2036.
This is mainly due to foreign net migration and an increasing lifespan. In 2040, one-quarter of the population will be 65 years or older. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of the population forecast for the period 2021–2070.
The population of the Netherlands is expected to grow relatively quickly over the next few years, but the growth rate will slow down after that.
The 20 millionth inhabitant is expected to arrive in 2060. The forecast describes the most likely development of the Dutch population. It also holds uncertainties, as explained in the last paragraph below.
Population growth mainly due to migration
For 2021, population growth is estimated at 118 thousand persons. This is 50 thousand more than in 2020, when the population increase nearly halved as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2019, the number of new inhabitants stood at 125 thousand.
Over the coming five years, the population is expected to grow by more than 100 thousand annually.
In recent years, population growth has mainly been due to foreign net migration.
It is expected that immigration will exceed emigration in the future as well. After a drop in 2020, foreign net migration picked up again this year; immigration was higher while emigration was lower. For the coming years, immigration is expected to increase further.
The number of emigrants is expected to pick up again as well as some of the immigrants will leave again after a few years.
Most likely development and uncertainties
In order to forecast the future development of the Dutch population, CBS uses a simulation model which uses assumptions regarding births, deaths, immigration and emigration as the basis for projections.
The forecast figures are subject to uncertainties. For example, the number of migrants can fluctuate sharply from year to year. It is also uncertain whether the average lifespan will continue to rise at the same pace and whether Dutch households will keep their preference for having two children.
Moreover, it is uncertain whether the coronavirus epidemic will have a long-term impact on population dynamics. In all likelihood, the population will be somewhere between 18.8 and 22.2 million by 2070.
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