Population growth lowest for 20 years
10 May 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch population increased by 10,000 to almost 16.3 million in the first quarter of 2004. It was the lowest quarterly growth figure in 20 years, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) said on Monday.
The low growth figure is due to a significant decline in the number of births and a steady fall in the number of immigrants entering the country. The number of immigrants was fewer than the number of emigrants in the first three months of 2004, the CBS said.
It is expected that the growth in the Dutch population will not top 61,500 for the full 12 months of this year, slightly less than the 62,400 recorded last year, Dutch public news service reported.
The Dutch government is taking a series of steps to reduce immigration, both from asylum seekers and family unification migrants, particularly those arriving from Turkey and Morocco. The policies are part of the continued move to integrate new arrivals.
There were 22,000 new immigrants registered in the Netherlands in the first quarter of this year, almost 5,000 fewer than the same period last year. The decline — which was first noted in 2001 — is thus continuing.
The CBS also said the number of immigrants arriving from Turkey declined. Despite falls in other ethnic groups in recent years, the number of Turkish immigrants to the Netherlands has risen, but that trend was broken in January, February and March.
Meanwhile, the decline in the number of births recorded in the last quarter of 2003 compared with the same period in 2002 was the largest in 30 years. The declining birth rate continued into 2004.
The CBS thus expects that the total number of births in the Netherlands this year will remain under 200,000 for the first time since 1998.
Due to the current economic slowdown, fewer Dutch households are opting to have children. Furthermore, there are also fewer woman aged 30, the age at which most women become mothers.
The Dutch population growth is now at the low level recorded in the first quarter of 2003. Population growth peaked in 2000, when 123,000 names were added to the total number of Dutch residents.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news