The share of households in Estonia with children under 18 has dropped from 33.6 percent to 25.2 percent in 11 years, data just released from the recent Population and Housing Census show.
The figures, which compare results from the 2011 and 2000 censuses, also indicate that the share of one-member households has grown significantly (from 33.5 percent to 39.9 percent), while the share of households with three and four members has dropped (from 18.8 percent to 15.9 percent, and from 13.3 percent to 10.5 percent, respectively).
These changes, which came accompanied by a 3-percent growth in the overall number of households (now numbering 599,832), have caused the size of the average household to shrink from 2.33 members to 2.13 members, Statistics Estonia said in a statement.
The agency said that the shifts were a result of a number of factors, including a decrease, by 74,000, in the number of children under 18 in a country of only 1,294,455 permanent residents.
Statistics Estonia also noted that an increase in the ranks of the elderly has led to more single-member households, as has a growth - by more than 11,000 - in the number of students.
Improving living conditions were also cited as a cause of the shift, as families that are splitting up are more able to afford to live apart.