In 2021, the population of the Netherlands grew by an estimated 118 thousand to nearly 17.6 million.
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This growth was 50 thousand up on the previous year, 2020. More immigrants arrived, while fewer people emigrated. The number of deaths was approximately equal to the previous year, but the number of births was up, according to the latest estimates by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).
In 2020, population growth still halved compared to 2019: there was less foreign migration while the natural growth rate (births minus deaths) was zero. The population started growing again in 2021. It is estimated to be lower than in 2019 (125 thousand), but higher than in the preceding years (approximately 100 thousand).
In 2021 mortality was again relatively high and estimated to exceed 168 thousand deaths. Mortality was higher than expected from the first week of August onwards; at the beginning of the year as well, during the third pandemic wave, there was excess mortality.
The number of live births was higher than in previous years. The annual number of live births has hovered around 170 thousand since 2013, but for 2021 is estimated to approach 180 thousand. As of February 2021, year-on-year growth was recorded in the number of live births over each consecutive month.
Due to the higher birth rate, the Dutch population is estimated to have grown by more than 11 thousand in 2021 through natural growth. In 2020, mortality and births still balanced each other out.
According to the latest estimate, more than 245 thousand immigrants settled in the Netherlands in 2021, i.e. 38 thousand more than in 2020. This number is similar to 2018 (244 thousand), but lower than in peak year 2019 (269 thousand).
As fewer people emigrated from the Netherlands in 2021 (139 thousand, versus 153 thousand in 2020), net migration (the difference between immigration and emigration) is almost the same as in 2019. On balance, external migraton has likely added almost 107 thousand residents, compared to 68.4 thousand in 2020.
Since 2005, the number of immigrants has been increasing every year. As some of the immigrants leave the country again, the number of emigrants also increased. In 2020, fewer people settled from abroad, which meant fewer people left in 2021. The immigrants who did come were also slower to leave. ■
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