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)


This web publication was developed by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in cooperation with Textcetera The Hague.
If you have a question or comment about this publication, please contact us.

Disclaimer and copyright


On this website, CBS uses functional cookies on this website to allow proper functioning of the site. These cookies do not contain personal user data and have minimal or no consequences for your privacy. In addition, CBS uses analytical cookies to track visitor statistics, including the number of page views, which topics users are searching, and how visitors reach our website. The purpose is to gain insight into the functioning of the website in order to improve your user experience. We minimise traceability of visitors to our website as much as possible by anonymising the final octet (group of eight bits) of each IP address. These data are not shared with other parties. CBS does not use tracking cookies. Tracking cookies are cookies that track visitors during their browsing of other websites.

The functional and analytical cookies have minimal or no consequences for your privacy. In accordance with current regulations, these cookies may be placed without prior consent.

More information (in Dutch only):

Explanation of symbols

Empty cell figure not applicable
. figure is unknown, insufficiently reliable or confidential
* provisional figure
** revised provisional figure
(between two numbers) inclusive
0 (0.0) less than half of unit concerned
2016–2017 2016 to 2017 inclusive
2016/2017 average for the years 2016 up to and including 2017
2016/’17 crop year, financial year, school year etc., beginning in 2016 and ending in 2017
2004/’05–2016/’17 crop year etc. 2004/’05 up to and including 2016/’17

Due to rounding, some totals may not correspond to the sum of the separate figures.

About CBS

Statistics Netherlands (CBS)

As a society we want information based on reliable figures so we know what is going on around us. CBS’ statutory task is to compile relevant and independent figures on a wide range of topics that are important to society and thus support public debate, policy development and decision-making. Whichever the issue or topic, we respond to the need for transparent and accessible information. All outcomes are made publicly available.

Through time, CBS has grown into an innovative knowledge institution, with continuous adoption of new technologies and developments in order to safeguard the quality of its data and its independent position.

CBS in the Caribbean Netherlands

CBS opened an office on Bonaire in 2010. The Bonaire office is responsible for all statistics referring to the three islands of the Caribbean Netherlands: Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba. Topics include prices, population, labour, income, the economy, tourism and trade.

Publications can be found in the dossier Caribbean Netherlands.


StatLine is the database of CBS. It offers a wealth of figures about the economy and society in the Netherlands and Caribbean Netherlands, freely available as tables, graphs or maps.

If you have any questions, or cannot find what you are looking for, please contact us:

Statistics Netherlands

Bulevar Gobernador N. Debrot 67, unit 9 | Kralendijk, Bonaire

Telephone number +599 717 8676


Please find us on Facebook and on Instagram


Should you have any questions or need more information, please contact us.