Statistics: Net migration positive for fifth year in a row

PPA migration service center in Tallinn. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

Estonia's population increased by 0.3 percent on year to January 2020, government agency Statistics Estonia reports, continuing a trend from the previous year for a small increase resulting from positive net migration. Estonian citizens returning to their home country made up the largest proportion of immigrants by nationality, and saw a net positive for the third year running. At the same time, more EU citizens left Estonia than entered it, for the first time in several years.

According to Statistics Estonia's revised data, 1,328,976 people resided in Estonia on January 1 this year, 4,156 more than the same date in 2019.

Overall positive net migration stood at 5,458, which minus the negative "natural" change of 1,302 gives the 4,156 figure. Returning Estonians made up the largest share of those immigrating into Estonia, Statistics Estoniaa says. Similarly, Estonian citizens made up the largest share of emigrants by nationality.

Immigration facts

  • Net migration positive for fifth year in a row, to January 1 2020, though 1,500 less than the year to January 1 2019.
  • 18,259 individuals took up residence in Estonia from elsewhere.
  • 12,801 persons left Estonia.
  • Immigration has been increasing in recent years, but emigration has started to catch up, as a large proportion of immigration is short-term.
Population change in Estonia, 2010-2019. Source: Statistics Estonia

Estonian citizens make up largest component of immigrants

Estonian citizens accounted for the largest share of both immigrants and emigrants, with net migration was positive for the third year in a row.

The most significant origin of returnees was Finland, which also saw a net migration positive for the third year running (i.e. more Estonians moved back to Estonia from Finland than Estonians going in the other direction).

Ukrainian and Russian citizens accounted for the largest proportion of immigrants from elsewhere.

Net migration of EU citizens was negative for the first time in several years.

Births: Shrinking number of women of childbearing age, more families having more than two children

14,099 children were born in Estonia in 2019, a couple of hundred fewer than the year before.

Alis Tammur, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia, says the demographic situation at present sees a declining number of women of childbearing age each year.

"The small decline in the number of births did not, however, have a significant impact on the total fertility rate: in 2019, it was 1.66, and in 2018, it was 1.67. For the second year in a row, considerably more families in Estonia are having third or successive children," Tammur said.

The total fertility rate increased sharply in 2018, when the government started to support families with three and more children.

Death rate remains stable

The number of deaths has remained stable for over a decade, which in an ageing society signifies increased life expectancy, Statistics Estonia reports.

The difference in the number of deaths and births has been in the range of 1,300–1,900 for the past eight years, the agency said.

The stable natural change is the result of overall demographic development: Life expectancy and the number of children born per woman are increasing.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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