Emigrant Return Rate at 30-40%, Figures Show

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

According to recent trends, 30-40 percent of Estonian citizens who emigrate from the country eventually return.

In 2012, migration shrank Estonia's population by 6,629, with 10,873 people emigrating and 4,244 immigrating, Statistics Estonia said in a statement today. Of last year's immigrants, a full 70 percent were returning citizens - those who had emigrated or their foreign-born children.

Finland, which has for many years been the largest destination country for Estonian emigration, saw 6,386 Estonians arrive last year, accounting for 59 percent of the total outflow. The number of people moving in the opposite direction numbered 1,503, which also puts Finland at the top of the list for countries of origin for immigration to Estonia.

The next largest destination country for Estonian emigrants was the UK, which took in 1,369 and gave back only 258.

After Finland, the largest source of immigrants, accounting for 24 percent of the total, was Russia.

Certain readers may be concerned that net migration is also reducing the number of young females in Estonia. Women account for a majority of the emigrants but men make up the lion's share of immigrants to the country. The combination of these two factors put the female portion of the 2012 net migration loss at 60 percent. Most emigrants were in the 20 to 44 age group.

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