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Inflow and outflow by age and country of origin

There has been a huge increase in the number of settlers and departures between the period 1998-2000 and the period 2017-2022. Roughly a doubling of both settlement and departure. Which part of the new residents stays for a short time and which part stays longer? Do newcomers have a chance in the urban selection process to stay in the city? Or do they need/want to leave the city quickly? In other words: will Amsterdam become a city of comings and goings, a place of passage? Or is it still possible for newcomers to take root, develop and contribute to the city?


The city will function more like a Sorting Machine as a large number of people enter and leave the city. The greater the influx, the greater the selection process can be. As the size of settlement and departure is high compared to the size of the population, the city will become more like a sorting machine. As this character increases, the mechanics of this selection process (who can stay and who cannot) becomes more interesting.

By age

It is striking that the largest group of establishments is in the 20-29 age category. In addition, a significant influx can be seen in the 30-39 age group; approximately 1/3 compared to the 20-29 category. The 20-29 group mainly includes students who come to study in Amsterdam, recent graduates from the Netherlands and the rest of the world who work in the better-paid jobs in Amsterdam, and young migrant workers. The category of 30-39 year old settlers includes groups with motives such as household formation, expats and other labor migrants.



Among the departures from Amsterdam, we see in the period 1998-2000 that the group of 20-29 year olds is approximately the same size as the group of departures between 30 and 39. In the period 2017-2022, the 20-29 category is considerably larger than the 20-29 category. 30-39. This shows that, unlike in the past, today young people are the largest group leaving the city. The possibility (and/or desirability) for young people to stay longer in Amsterdam appears to have decreased significantly. The group of departures in the 30-39 age category has also increased considerably between 2017 and 2022 compared to 1998-2000. This includes the group that has traditionally left the city since the 1960s: families that were formed in Amsterdam and left the city with one or two children. This can be seen in the graph, where in addition to the departure in the 30-39 group, a large departure can also be seen in the 0 to 9 years category. From this we conclude that a large proportion of 30-39 year olds who leave Amsterdam consist of families with one or more children. The average age of women having their first child in Amsterdam is 32 years (Elbrechts, Sleutjes & Smits, 2023). This allows us to link the departure of 0-9 year olds to the age group 30-39 year olds and therefore not to the 20-29 group. That is why we call the category 30-39 year olds the family group.


In the dissertation of Hester Booi, senior researcher at Research and Statistics of the Municipality of Amsterdam, in May 2024, the outflow of families in the last sixty years is analyzed in depth. Booi concludes that the outflow of families is still extensive, but that in recent times upper middle income groups also seem to be forced to leave the city if they form a family, even if they want to continue living in the city.

As can be seen in the graph below, a turning point occurred around the year 2008. There was a decline in the departure of the 30-39 age category and the 18-29 category continued to rise. From 2014 onwards, the departure of 30-39 year olds also increased again, but now the departure of 18-29 year olds remains higher.

The growth in the number of inhabitants of the city is therefore mainly due to the settlement surplus (more settlement than departure) in the age category 20-29 years. It is striking that a settlement surplus can also be seen in the group of 10 to 19 year olds. These are the high school students and the young college students. All other age groups have a surplus of departures, i.e. more departures than settlements. The city is growing because of young people, but they are also a group that is leaving the city en masse.

To get a clearer picture, a division has been made below into the age groups 20-25, 25-30 and 30-35 with their departure figures in the years 2019 and 2020.

Conclusion from the departure by age

Since 2008, significantly more young people have left the city than families. Young people find it increasingly difficult to stay in the city and nowadays leave it before they can start forming a family. This is a bitter confirmation of the statement that Amsterdam is increasingly taking on the character of a Sorting Machine, where young people can settle in the city, however difficult, but then have to leave it again very quickly.

By country of origin

Under construction









O&S Amsterdam

Elbrecht, A., Sleutjes, B., & Smits, A. (2023, December 1). Fewest births since 1997. Research and Statistics website.


July 8th, 2024

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Bron: O&S Amsterdam

Bron: O&S Amsterdam

Bron: O&S Amsterdam



30 to 34 years

25 to 29 years

20 to 24 years







Source: Amsterdam Onderzoek en Statistiek – 2023 loopvdbevolking vertrek naar leeftijdsgroepen

35 to 39 years


















30 to 39 years

20 to 29 years











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