By 2050, 40% of the working population in the Netherlands will have a migrant background

By the middle of this century, the demography of the workforce of the Netherlands will be quite different. 

The demographic institute NIDI predicts that by 2050, around 42% of the workforce aged between 20 and 65 will not have a Dutch background, NOS reports.

In total, the number of people with a Dutch background within the workforce will decrease by 1 million.

Currently, 26% of the working population in the Netherlands does not have a Dutch background. This includes first-generation immigrants (foreign-born) and second-generation immigrants. Within the second generation, at least one of the parents is born abroad.

The NIDI did the study at the request of the House of Representatives, which wanted to see how society will change by 2050 in terms of population and composition.

Unpredictable numbers

The CBS population forecast predicts that the population will increase to 19.3 million in 2050, compared to the current 17.4 million. However, according to the NIDI, the population could grow to 20 million by 2050, if immigration, number of children and life expectancy turn out to be higher than the current predictions. If they’re lower, there are chances that the population of the Netherlands might even shrink.

It is difficult to know for sure how Dutch society will look like in 30 years from now. For example, it’s not very clear how many immigrants come and stay in the Netherlands. Around 80% of immigrants leave the country after a couple of years spent here.

The political implications of these changes are not for NIDI to decide. According to lead researcher Joop de Beer, “Ultimately it is about the political question to which society we want to go.”

On the other hand, the NIDI has stressed that “low migration leads to a shrinking potential workforce and high demographic pressure.” If migrants continue to come to the Netherlands, that pressure remains low.

Increase in diversity

Over the coming decades, the migrants coming to the Netherlands will diversify. As of now, 40% of people who have a migration background come from the following countries: Morroco, Turkey, Indonesia, Suriname and Netherlands Antilles.

Within 30 years from now, it is expected that there will be more migrants coming from EU countries (30%) while traditional migration countries will decrease to 25%. The share of people coming from asylum countries is also expected to increase from 15% to 20%.

Ageing population

The number of people aged over 65 is also expected to increase. There were 3,4 million people aged over 65 last year, and that number is expected to increase to 4,8 million by 2050.

Due to an increase in life expectancy, people aged over 80 will also double in number. Currently, in the Netherlands, there are 800,000 people aged over 80. By 2050, that number could increase to 1,5 million, or even 2,5 million if life expectancy continues to grow.

What are your predictions for Dutch society? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Feature Image: Dimitri Houtteman/Pixabay


Vlad Moca-Grama
Vlad was born and raised in Brasov, Romania and came to the Hague to study. When he isn't spending time missing mountains or complaining about the lack of urban exploration locations in the Netherlands, you can find him writing at Dutch Review.


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