Estonians' natural population growth positive for second year in a row

Births chart, by day. Photo is illustrative.
Births chart, by day. Photo is illustrative. Source: ERR

Last year, the number of ethnic Estonians living in Estonia increased by 348 due to natural population growth and another 794 due to net migration. According to Statistics Estonia data, a total of 909,552 ethnic Estonians lived in Estonia as of the beginning of 2020.

According to Alis Tammur, a leading analyst at Statistics Estonia, Estonians' natural population growth has remained near balanced for the past 12 years.

"From 2008-2012, Estonians' natural population growth was positive, after which it remained negative for five years in a row, and for the past two years has been positive again," Tammur said. "Over the past dozen years combined, a total of 3,600 more [ethnic] Estonians have been born than died."

For the past three years, Estonians' net migration has been positive as well, indicating that more Estonians have returned to their homeland than have moved abroad.

Following the restoration of Estonian independence in 1991, the country saw a period of negative net migration, at the beginning of which a large number of Estonians of Russian background left the country, followed by an increase of ethnic Estonians' migration abroad. After Estonia joined the EU in 2004, the country saw a further increase in migration abroad as the borders opened to the rest of the union.

"For the past five years, overall net migration in Estonia has been positive, and for the past three years, Estonians' net migration has been as well," the analyst said. "It is difficult to highlight any one specific primary motivation for people returning to their homeland, but the country's general economic stability saw people return ahead of the previous economic crisis as well, for example."


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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