An increasing number of children in the age category 0-5 are growing up in the four major Dutch cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht). Initially, the increase mainly occurred in the new VINEX districts, but since 2008, the number of 0 to 5-year-olds is also rising in the older parts of the cities. At the same time, the number of young children is declining in the rest of the country according to figures released by Statistics Netherlands.
The construction of the so-called VINEX districts in the four largest cities have stimulated population growth and the number of young children, but the number of young children is also increasing in the older parts of the cities. In Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, the number of 0 to 5-year-olds in very highly urbanised neighbourhoods -– often the old city centres – has risen since 2008. In Utrecht, this phenomenon could also be observed between 2002 and 2008. After 2008, the number of young children has grown in the old as well as in the new parts of Utrecht. During the past decade, the number of young children in Utrecht has grown by 35 percent.
Inflow of thousands of young children in VINEX districts
If the VINEX locations are not taken into account, the increase of young children in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague would not have happened until after 2008. In the period 2002-2011, the IJburg district in Amsterdam accounted for an increase of 2,900 young children. The new municipal districts of Ypenburg, Leidschenveen and Wateringse Veld in The Hague accounted for 3,500 young children. The districts of Leidsche Rijn and Vleuten-De Meern in Utrecht accounted for 5,000 young children and in Rotterdam the Nesselande district accounted for 1,700 young children. The incorporation of the former municipality of Rozenburg into the urban region of Rotterdam in 2010 accounted for nearly 800 extra residents in the 0-5 age category.
The increase in the number of young children in very highly urbanised neighbourhoods since 2008 may be due to the poor conditions on the housing market, which make it more difficult for young couples after a baby has been born to move to the suburbs. Another factor might be that the preferences of young families with respect to their living environment have changed.
Noticeable increase share of young children in four largest cities
Last year, 6.3 percent of residents of the four largest cities were under the age of six, versus 5.9 percent in 2000. In the rest of the country, a reverse trend is apparent: the proportion of young children has declined over the period 2000-2012. As a result of this development, the share of young children outside the four largest cities fell from 6.3 to 5.4 percent.