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2021 Population of the Caribbean Netherlands up by over 900

Press Release CBS

On 1 January 2022, the population of the Caribbean Netherlands stood at 27,726. This is 921 more than one year previously. The increase is largely on account of Bonaire and St Eustatius. On both islands, more people settled than departed. Natural population growth (births minus deaths) played a limited role. On Saba, the number of inhabitants remained virtually unchanged. More Dutch tourists visited Bonaire again. This is evident from new population figures on the Caribbean Netherlands, released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

On 1 January 2022, Bonaire had 22,573 inhabitants, representing a year-on-year increase of 828 persons (4 percent). This was mainly due to the fact that many more people settled on the island than left (net increase: 729), and to a lesser extent because of natural population growth (93).

More people in their 20s and early 30s settle on Bonaire

Last year, 1,586 people settled on Bonaire, while 857 people left the island. This resulted in a migration surplus of 729. With a positive balance of 152, migration from the European Netherlands was higher than in 2019 (balance: 57). Especially migrants in their twenties and early thirties were more likely to settle on the island than in 2019. Most migrants came from Curaçao (226). This number is similar to 2019, but 70 lower than in 2020. The influx of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Haiti, Colombia and Peru was substantially higher in 2021 than in 2020.

More tourists under 35 visit Bonaire

More tourists with Dutch nationality visited Bonaire again for one or two overnight stays. The number of people under the age of 35 who stayed on the island for a maximum of 60 days was higher in 2021 than in 2019; on the other hand, there were fewer over-45s who visited Bonaire for a short stay in 2021 than in 2019. In total, over 44 thousand tourists with Dutch nationality came to Bonaire in 2021, similar to 2019 (45 thousand) and almost twice as many as in 2020 (24 thousand). The number of tourist arrivals on Bonaire with a stay between 60-180 days last year (800 persons) was more or less the same as in 2019. In 2020, this was slightly lower at around 700 persons.

More 15 to 24-year-olds on Bonaire for a longer stay

The group of visitors who stayed for a period of two to six months included relatively many 15 to 24-year-olds. It is likely that these were mainly students taking a gap year. This is similar to 2019, while in 2020 the number was lower due to the coronavirus pandemic. The number of 35 to 64-year-olds who stayed on the island for two to six months was slightly higher in 2020 than in 2019. Fewer over-65s visited Bonaire in 2021 compared to previous years.

Population growth on St Eustatius

On 1 January 2022, St Eustatius had 3,242 inhabitants. This is a year-on-year increase of 100 persons (3 percent), mainly due to more people settling on the island than leaving. Natural population growth was limited. Net migration (+50) was mainly seen among people from China and from St Maarten. Conversely, more people born in the European Netherlands left than arrived on the island (-33).

Saba’s population slightly down

The population of Saba stood at 1,911 on 1 January 2022. This is 7 fewer than one year previously. Deaths exceeded births and there were slightly more people who moved to the island than departed (+17). On balance, the number of migrants from the Dominican Republic and Colombia increased (+33 in total). Net migration from the United States and Canada was negative between 2019 and 2020, declining from 145 to 66 persons. It remained at the same level in 2021. The number of Canadians and US citizens leaving Saba decreased from 131 in 2019 to 62 in 2020, but increased again slightly to 69 in 2021.


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