Figures - Population

In 2016, the Dutch population increased by 103 thousand, based on 173 thousand births, 149 thousand deaths, 231 thousand immigrants and 152 thousand emigrants.

On 1 January 2017, the Netherlands had close to 17.1 million inhabitants, over 100 thousand more than one year previously. This growth was mainly due to migration. On balance (immigrants minus emigrants), 79 thousand migrants settled in our country. Natural population growth (births minus deaths) contributed 24 thousand more to the population.

Around the turn of the century, the annual number of births exceeded 200 thousand. It has declined since then, fluctuating between 170 and 175 thousand in recent years. The number of deaths peaked in 2015 and 2016 at an annual rate of almost 150 thousand. Natural population growth has more than halved over the past two decades.

Global conflicts have sparked a number of sharp increases in the flow of asylum seekers to the Netherlands. In 2015, there was a peak in the number of Syrian and Eritrean asylum migrants. The first decade of this century saw a relatively modest influx of asylum seekers, mainly from Iraq. Many Yugoslavs arrived during the 1990s, followed by Afghans around the turn of the century.

The Netherlands has an ageing population. In 2016, 18.2 percent of the population were 65 years or older, up from 13.6 percent at the turn of the century. The share of over-65s is much lower in big cities than in smaller municipalities. Among the four major cities, Rotterdam has the highest share of over-65s at 15.1 percent while Utrecht has the lowest share at 10.2 percent. Urban areas remain relatively young due to the continuous influx of young people, who often stay after finding a partner and starting a family. By contrast, there is an outflow of young people from the smaller municipalities, particularly in regions outside of the Randstad conurbation.

Large municipalities are younger than smaller ones and will be in the future. As the AOW entitlement age is being raised, grey population pressure (ratio of people who have reached AOW entitlement age to the population aged 20 up to AOW entitlement age) will increase more slowly in the future.

As of 2013, more people are entering into a marriage or registered partnership again after falling marriage rates in previous years. The number of registered partnerships has risen in particular over the past few years, while the number of marriages has remained stable. Nowadays, nearly one in five registered relationships are partnerships; in comparison, only one in thirty registered relationships were partnerships in the year 2000.

The number of single-person households has quadrupled since 1971 and stood at nearly 3 million on 1 January 2017. The number of multi-person households has also increased, but to a far lesser extent. The number of single-person household grew most rapidly over the 1980s: by 600 thousand. Growth was relatively at its strongest during the 1970s and ’80s. Nowadays, nearly 40 percent of all private households consist of a single person.

Slightly less than 20 percent of higher educated men born in 1970 have children by the age of 30. This share is significantly higher among lower educated men (over one-third), but men with higher education levels do catch up at a later age. By the age of 45, highly educated men born in 1970 are much more likely to have children than lower educated men. As for women born in 1970, those with lower education remain more likely to have children than highly skilled women, even at a later age.


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Explanation of symbols

empty cell Not applicable
. Data not available
* Provisional figure
** Revised provisional figure (but not definite)
2016-2017 2016 to 2017 inclusive
2016/2017 Average for 2016 to 2017 inclusive
2016/’17 Crop year, financial year, school year, etc., beginning in 2016 and ending in 2017
2014/’15-2016/’17 Crop year, financial year, etc., 2014/’15 to 2016/’17 inclusive

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

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