Curaҫao Population Projections 2015-2050


Curaҫao Population Projections 2015-2050


Population growth in Curaçao has followed a rather turbulent path in the past three decades. While the fertility level declined and the life expectancy increased between the mid-1980s and 2015, migration has proven to be the dominant driving force behind population change in Curaçao during this period, and will likely continue this role in the future. Two emigration waves during the 1980s and 1990s, which were followed by an extended period of population growth, due to a high level of immigration, have severely altered the population size, but also caused changes in the age composition of the population. Rapid aging and at the same time dejuvenation of the population are some of the results of these developments.

Population projections for the small island state of Curaçao therefore rely heavily on migration assumptions. Population projections (for most countries in the world) by major agencies, like the United Nations and the US Census Bureau, usually assume merely one migration scenario per country. This approach is too limited for countries like Curaçao which depend greatly on migration developments, which are strongly fluctuating, for future population growth. This article argues that population projections for populations depending predominantly on migration for population growth (e.g. small island states) benefit from more than one migration scenario, in fact, need more than one migration scenario. By presenting the Curaçao Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) 2015-2050 population projections, which include four different migration scenarios, this argument will be supported. These projections show how the different migration scenarios lead to various scenarios of population growth and have varying effects on the pace of population aging and dejuvenation of the population in Curaçao.

In the first part of this article the CBS 2015-2050 population projections methodology including the different fertility, mortality and migration assumptions and the rationale behind these assumptions are presented and discussed. The results of five projection variants and a comparison of these results are presented in the second part of the article. Finally, an argument is made for future improvements on the migration assumptions methodology. A list of definitions of the used concepts is found in the appendix.

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