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17 millionth Dutch resident likely to be a migrant

THE NETHERLANDS. The Netherlands welcomed its 17 millionth inhabitant on Monday and for the first time the new arrival is more likely to be an immigrant than a baby, according to the government statistics service CBS.

Official projections, based on municipalities’ population registers, calculated that the 17 millionth person would arrive at around lunchtime.

Most of the growth in the last 15 years has been in the urban central belt known as the Randstad. Amsterdam increased its numbers by nearly 100,000, while Utrecht grew by 82,500 and The Hague added 66,800 residents.

By contrast, more than a quarter of the 390 local authorities recorded a decline in population, with the sharpest falls in Limburg, Zeeland and north-east Groningen. The industrial port of Delfzijl saw its population decrease by 14% in the last 15 years.

Figures published by the CBS last year showed a strong correlation between population decline and unemployment: eastern Groningen, southern Limburg and Zeeuws-Vlaanderen all saw the number of available jobs fall by at least 5% between 2008 and 2014.

The data also shows population growth is slowing: the 16 million mark was reached in 2001, while the 15 millionth person arrived in 1990. The CBS estimates the population will hit 18 million in 2035.

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