Amsterdam is growing but young families are leaving the city

Amsterdam is growing but young families are leaving the city

According to a new analysis of population figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the number of residents in Amsterdam has ballooned in the last five years, and half of the new inhabitants are migrants from abroad.

Migration from abroad to Amsterdam

Before 2012, the number of people from abroad immigrating to Amsterdam equalled those emigrating out of Amsterdam. However, in the last few years, the number of people immigrating to Amsterdam has risen dramatically, whilst the level of emigration has remained the same.

The population in Amsterdam has grown by 11.000 people on average, every year, for the last five years. In 2016, around 20.000 people left Amsterdam, whilst 30.000 people from abroad arrived in the Dutch capital city. Of those arriving, the biggest group were Indian. Large numbers of migrants also came from the USA and UK.

Young families leaving the Dutch capital

The population growth in Amsterdam cannot be attributed to young families, as these are actually leaving the city. In fact, according to domestic migration figures, more people have been leaving Amsterdam than moving to the city for the last two years.

Last year, in 2016, the number of people leaving the capital was higher than those finding a house in Amsterdam and settling in the city. The total number of people leaving surpassed those staying by 4.000.

In 2015 / 2016, 9.000 27-40 year olds left the city and were replaced by 22-27 year olds. The group of 27-40 year olds also took around the same amount of children, aged 0-17 years old, with them.

Along with the group of 22-27 year olds, a large group of 17-22 year olds, namely 8.500 people, migrated to Amsterdam in 2015/16. The main purposes for migration for these two groups are work and study.

Life in suburbia

Many young families in Amsterdam relocate to cities in the surrounding area such as Almere, Amstelveen and Zaanstad. Other families do go further afoot and move to other big cities such as Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.

The move to suburbia has consequences for Amsterdam, especially for primary schools, which are experiencing lower enrolment figures. The primary school ‘t Gouden Ei even had to close its doors this year due to lack of pupils.

House prices in Amsterdam to blame

The types of properties in Amsterdam which families are after often don’t fall within budget. In order to have their needs met when it comes to accommodation, many young families look to cities outside of the capital where house prices are more affordable.


Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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