The population of the Netherlands has been quite stable at around 17 million over the last decade, and around 90 percent of the population lives in urban areas. The fertility rate has only slightly dipped below 1.7 in 2013, while population growth also experienced a slump the same year. The average life expectancy of inhabitants is around 81 years, and the percentage of the population 65 years or older is growing, which proves a stable healthcare system and economy, but is placing higher demands on the welfare system.
The economy of the Netherlands is similar to that of the European Union as a whole. The rate of GDP growth in the Netherlands was negative during 2012 and 2013, but the economy was able to recover somewhat by the following year. GDP per capita, despite positive growth predictions for 2014, decreased slightly in 2015, before picking up again, and is now expected to be back to its previous state by 2018. One reason for this may be that, due to negative and slow economic growth, the government has imposed austerity measures and has slightly reduced spending compared to revenue.
The economy of the Netherlands is largely based on the services sector, which is responsible for almost 75 percent of GDP generation. Employment across the sectors shows a similar distribution. The unemployment rate increased between 2013 and 2014, when GDP growth was negative, but it is expected to decrease slightly as the economy improves. Trade continues to play an important role for the Netherlands and the country boasts a positive trade balance which contributes to a stable economy. Imports and exports occurs predominantly with Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom and China. Overall, the Netherlands is experiencing slow economic growth in a stable economy.