Demography of Curaçao ; publication series Census 2011


Demography of Curaçao ; publication series Census 2011


In the Census 2011, Curaçao’s population was enumerated at 150,563 persons. The population growth of almost 20,000 persons between 2001 and 2011 averaged 1.4 percent per year and was similar in magnitude to the population growth of the 1960s in Curaçao. The mainly migration-induced population growth has had a significant impact on the composition of the population. The sex ratio, that was already low in 2001, decreased further, mainly as a result of female-dominated immigration from regional countries such as Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, to reach a level of 84 men per 100 women in 2011. At the same time, the pace of the ageing process of the population has increased as a result of the rapidly growing number of persons aged 60 years or older. Besides, the decline in the size of the population aged 0-14 years, which has been ongoing since the 1970s, continued between 2001 and 2011.

Another effect of the positive net migration between 2001 and 2011 is the growth in the proportion of foreign-born population, the so-called first-generation migrants, that has increased to 24 percent in 2011. A quarter of the foreign-born population is born in the Netherlands, while the second largest group, standing at 15 percent of the foreign-born population, are those born in the Dominican Republic. Shares of Colombian-born, Haitian-born and Jamaican-born immigrants (”newer” immigrant countries) have increased as opposed to Dutch-Antillean-born persons (”older” immigrant countries) during this period.

About 90 percent of Curacao’s population had the Dutch nationality in 2011. Varying shares of foreign-born persons have (obtained) the Dutch nationality, ranging from almost 20 percent of Haitian-born persons to about 76 percent of Surinamese-born persons. The share of the population that has never lived abroad decreased from almost 70 percent in 2001 to 56 percent in 2011.

A new feature of the 2011 Curaçao Census is the measurement of migrant generations. Besides the 24 percent of first-generation migrants, the population of Curaçao has a share of 18 percent second-generation migrants and a share of 57 percent persons with a native background. In general, the “newer” immigrant countries show larger shares of first-generation migrants, while the ”older” immigrant countries show a larger share of second-generation migrants. The exception is the Netherlands, which can be seen as an older immigrant country, with 3.6 times as much first-generation migrants originating from it as second-generation migrants.

Emigration intentions are higher for foreign-born persons than for local-born persons. Also, adolescents have indicated to have higher emigration intentions than adults. Among immigrants, the intention to stay increases with the duration of their current settlement.

Between 2001 and 2011, all general indicators of fertility pointed in the same direction: a decline in fertility. The Total Fertility Rate has decreased from 2.4 to 2.1 children per woman from 2001 to 2011. Over this period, especially the fertility rates of women aged 15-29 years have declined. While the mean age at first birth has decreased from 26.5 in 2001 to 25.8 in 2011, the mean interval between first and second birth has increased from 2.5 to 3.5 years. At the same time, the share of births that has taken place to couples, married or unmarried, who live together has decreased. Especially the share of births to married couples has decreased. This development has been paired with an increasing share of births to women who are not living together with a partner (24% in 2011) or who don’t have a partner (18% in 2011).

Differentials in fertility also show for the mother’s country of birth. Most notable are women born in the Dominican Republic, who on average have a total fertility rate of 2.7 children.

 Between 2001 and 2011, the proportion of the population that is married has decreased from 42 percent to 37 percent. Not only adolescents tended not to marry; an increase has also been recorded in the share of never-married adults of almost all ages. Even though consensual unions have become slightly more prevalent in 2011 compared to 2001 (respectively 12% and 9%), the cohabiting population, either married or in consensual union, declined from 49 percent in 2001 to 46 percent in 2011. Men marry or start living together at a higher average age than women, respectively 29.3 years of age for men and 27.1 for women. Furthermore, foreign-born respondents are more likely than Curaçaoan-born ones to have a partner and to cohabitate with that partner (56% versus 43% respectively).

For women as well as men, life expectancy at birth increased between 2001 and 2011. In 2011, on average, newborn males could expect to reach age 74.2 and newborn females 80.4 years. While in past intercensal periods (since 1972) women gained more years in life expectancy than men, between 2001 and 2011, the increase in life expectancy has been higher for men than for women. It seems that men have gained more momentum in life expectancy increase as compared to women.