Population decline slowing down ({{commentsTotal}})

The nation's population has been shrinking over the last two decades.
The nation's population has been shrinking over the last two decades. Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

According to Statistics Estonia, 1,313,271 people lived in Estonia as of January 1, 2015 – that is 2,666 (0.2 percent) fewer than at the same time a year earlier. Negative natural increase is the main cause for population decline, while the influence of emigration has decreased significantly.

The population decreased by 733 persons due to negative net migration (with more people leaving Estonia than taking up residence here) and by 1,933 persons due to negative natural increase (the number of deaths exceeding the number of births). Among the processes influencing population decline, there has been a rise in the share of negative natural increase. The last time negative natural increase exceeded external migration was in 2003.

In 2014, 13,595 births and 15,528 deaths were registered in Estonia. The number of births remained at the level of the previous year. Taking into account that the number of women in childbearing age has been decreasing for years, this is considered as a positive indicator. However, just four years earlier, as many as 2,000 children more were born (15,825 births in 2010). The number of deaths has been declining since the beginning of the 1990s and for the past five years has remained between 15,000 and 16,000 per year.

In 2014, more people left Estonia than took up residence here; immigrants numbered 3,904 and emigrants 4,637. Compared to the three previous years, emigration has decreased by nearly 30 percent, while the level of immigration has remained the same. Since immigration in Estonia consists mainly of return migration, which occurs generally 1–2 years after leaving the country, then after a previous period of more active emigration, a higher level of immigration can be expected.

Editor: S. Tambur