Number of Repatriates Growing Each Year ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Within the higher absolute figures for immigration to Estonia in recent years, the numbers of returning emigrants have also increased, a Statistics Estonia analysis shows.

Although net migration is, as often noted, negative - the country shed 6,822 people in 2012 - the structure of immigration contains positive signals, Postimees said in interpreting the numbers.

According to the 2011 census, Estonia as of the end of that year was home to 28,000 people who had moved in from a foreign country in the last 11 years. Of them, 14,000 were people who were born in Estonia who had moved back. The lowest number of immigrants - under 2,500 -arrived in Estonia in 2009, at the worst point of the recession. A year later the number had grown to 3,000 and by 2011 it was 4,600. Of these numbers, a little over half were returning emigrants - 1,300, 1,500 and 2,400, respectively.

Most were in their 20s upon arrival in Estonia. The greatest number of children are under one year of age, indicating that young families are among those coming back.

Like other categories, the number of children immigrating to Estonia also grew in the period in question: there were more children under the age of one in the second half of the 2000s than there were in the beginning of the decade. Children up to the age of nine are the largest age group among all immigrants from Finland, the US, the UK, Germany and Sweden.

A disproportionately large number of 40-70-year-olds have come from Sweden.

The people moving back include significantly more people with higher education. Among those aged 35 to 39, 60 percent have higher education, compared to 40 percent for the general population.

Ninety-five percent of those aged 20-74 who have lived abroad speak at least one foreign language, compared to 78 percent for the population.

With regard to new immigrants with no birth tie to Estonia, one-third of them in the 2000-2011 period came from Russia (4,903) followed by Finland with 1,461 and Ukraine with 1,195.