The population of two larger municipalities in Lääne County, Haapsalu and Lääne-Nigula, decreased last year.
The change of law that came into effect last year deleted all people whose place of residence was written only with the accuracy of a city or rural municipality.
The mayor of Haapsalu, Urmas Sukles, says a couple of hundred people were lost because of this change to the law. The population decreased by 256 to 13,174 people.
"We have calculated here that one resident, whether they are a pensioner, a child or a worker, brings in an average of €600 to the city so 200 times 600 is somewhere around €120,000, so for the city budget it is a loss," said Sukles told ERR.
The population of Lääne-Nigula fell by 42 to 7,153. Municipality mayor Mikk Lõhmus said this was partly due to the relocation of the residents of Koluvere Special Care Home. However, he said the overall picture is positive and the population in many rural municipalities is stable or even growing.
Lõhmus told ERR: "What is especially gratifying is that the Martna region, which has been the main driver of the decline in the population of Lääne County for decades, remained at zero last year. In the outskirts of Rõude and Kasari, the population even grew, so this stabilization of the Martna region has been very positive."
Lõhmus said this is primarily due to people who work in the city but want to buy affordable living space. Sukles believes that the reconstruction of Haapsalu railway would help to increase the population.
Editor: Helen Wright