Photo description: Toeristen worden gecontroleerd door de doaune van Bonaire.

Are emigrants returning to the Caribbean Netherlands?

Between 2011 and 2016, there were 2,480 emigrants born in the former Netherlands Antilles or Aruba. Almost 4 out of 10 (38 percent) returned to the Caribbean Netherlands within seven years. The majority were away for one or two years.

This infographics shows where people on Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba were originally born. It displays a map of the Caribbean Netherlands showing shares of countries where inhabitants were born. The shares are illustrated with graphics of small puppets. Where were people in the Caribbean Netherlands originally born? Bonaire St Eustatius Saba Bonaire = 10 inhabitants Born in Legend St Eustatius Saba Other Central and South America Aruba, Curaçao, St Maarten North America European Netherlands Other 1 January 2023
Return of emigrants¹⁾ (%)
length of stay abroad (years) Bonaire St Eustatius Saba
0 5 4 3
1 17 12 14
2 24 19 26
3 29 26 31
4 32 29 36
5 35 31 38
6 37 33 38
7 39 33 38
¹⁾ Born in the former Netherlands Antilles or Aruba, departure between 2011 and 2016.

Of the 1,954 Bonaire residents who were born in the former Netherlands Antilles or Aruba and emigrated between 2011–2016, 39 percent had returned to the island seven years later. As for St Eustatius, 33 percent of the 382 emigrants had returned after seven years. On Saba, 144 people emigrated between 2011–2016; seven years later, 38 percent had come back to the island.

Emigrants mainly went to the European Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten.

33% of Statia emigrants back within 7 years
Returning of emigrants, Bonaire¹⁾
length of stay abroad (years) Number
0 105
1 229
2 132
3 100
4 63
5 56
6 39
7 39
¹⁾ Born in the former Netherlands Antilles or Aruba, departure between 2011 and 2016.

Return after one year common on Bonaire and St Eustatius

The largest group of emigrants from Bonaire returned after one year; some after less than a year. The majority of emigrants from St Eustatius returned within one to two years, although compared to Bonaire, relatively more emigrants returned after two to three years.

Most Saba residents who were born in the former Netherlands Antilles or Aruba and left the island, returned after spending two years abroad. This makes their most common length of stay abroad different from the other two islands. The second most common length of their stay was one year.

Returning of emigrants, St Eustatius¹⁾
length of stay abroad (years) Number
0 15
1 32
2 27
3 24
4 14
5 8
6 5
7 1
¹⁾ Born in the former Netherlands Antilles or Aruba, departure between 2011 and 2016.
Returning of emigrants, Saba¹⁾
length of stay abroad (years) Number
0 5
1 15
2 17
3 7
4 8
5 2
6 1
7 0
¹⁾ Born in the former Netherlands Antilles or Aruba, departure between 2011 and 2016.

More data on demographics available on (Dutch only)

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