In 2020, 818 new inhabitants were added to the population of the Caribbean Netherlands.
This was mainly due to foreign migration. Both immigration and emigration declined due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 crisis. The numbers of both births and deaths were up in previous years.
The direct effect of COVID-19 on mortality was minor: last year, Bonaire registered three confirmed COVID-19 deaths, while no COVID-19 deaths were recorded in St. Eustatius and Saba. This is evident from new population figures on the Caribbean Netherlands released by Statistics Netherlands CBS.
Bonaire’s population grew by 830 inhabitants last year.
There was hardly any population growth in St. Eustatius, while Saba recorded a population decline. The most notable rise was seen in the number of births in Bonaire and St. Eustatius. The reason for this increase has not been investigated. However, a number of socio-economic support measures have been implemented over the past two years which were aimed at reducing the cost of childcare.
Bonaire’s population increased by 830 to 21,700 inhabitants last year. This is comparable to 2019, but it is high compared to the growth over the past five years. There were 228 births on the island in 2020 against an average of 192 over the years 2015-2019 inclusive. Women in the age group 25-29 years in particular had more children.
Mortality was relatively high with 111 deaths; this is more than in the previous year and exceeds the average over the period 2015-2019 inclusive. Mortality was up among people in their 60s and 70s in particular. Bonaire registered three confirmed COVID-19 deaths in 2020. Twelve confirmed COVID-19 deaths have been recorded up until mid-April 2021.
Immigration into Bonaire was higher in 2020 than in previous years. It was higher out of the European Netherlands and Curacao, while there were fewer immigrants from the Dominican Republic and Peru. Emigration declined, to Curacao and Aruba in particular, and to a lesser extent to the European Netherlands.
In St. Eustatius, the population rose by three to a total of 3,142 inhabitants. The number of births was high relative to previous years: 50 in 2020, against 30 in 2019 and an average of 32 in the period 2016-2019. The birth rate in St Eustatius increased most notably among inhabitants in their 30s. Net migration was negative. Compared to previous years, immigration nearly halved. The drop in immigration was seen among multiple origin countries, particularly the Dominican Republic.
In Saba, the population fell by 15 to a total of 1,918 inhabitants last year. Natural growth was negative; there were fewer births and slightly more deaths. The island saw a significant drop in immigration. The main reason for this is that Saba University School of Medicine only offered online tuition; on balance, significantly lower numbers of students therefore arrived in Saba from the United States and Canada compared to previous years. Emigration declined as well.
The Daily Herald.