A new population projection for Estonia suggests that with current trends, the country will lose nearly 10 percent of its population by 2040, while the percentage of people of retirement age will shoot up from its current level of 18 percent to 27.6 percent.
The study, carried out by Statistics Estonia and released today, suggested that Estonia’s population will decrease by 4,800 persons per year (0.4%) from its last-measured level of 1,320,000 in January. While the sex-age distribution of the population will get smaller, based on the rising life expectancy of males, that will be offset by the share of females who migrate abroad.
Overall, the dependency ratio (the number of children and retired persons compared to the working-age population), will rise from 50.9 percent to 70.2 percent. While there are currently two working age persons per each dependent in society, by 2040 that ratio will be three working-age persons per two dependents.
Estonia is currently suffering a drop in adults of child-bearing age, as a smaller generation was born during the 1990s and is now in their 20s. That will be an ever-escalating demographic problem. Currently there are 270,840 Estonian 19-years-old or younger. That number is projected to drop to 225,306 in 2040. The share of children (15-years-old or younger) is predicted to fall from 15.5 percent of the population to 13.6 percent.
The population projection was based on current fertility, mortality and migration models, and the assumption that the demographic trends of recent years will continue. It was made in cooperation with the University of Tartu.