Statistics: Youth population declined in every county except Harju in 2019

Young people in Tallinn's Old Town.
Young people in Tallinn's Old Town. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The number of young people fell on year to the beginning of 2020 in all 15 of Estonia's counties except the most populous, Harju County, data released by Statistics Estonia on Monday showed.

Harju County received net domestic migration of 1,358 young people (defined as aged 7-26) on year to the beginning of 2020.

There was only a small change in Tartu County, which has the second largest population, seeing a net gain of 45 from the same age group.

All other counties saw a loss, with the eastern and southern counties of Ida-Viru, Jõgeva, Põlva and Valga counties experiencing the largest net loss of young people.

In terms of percentage of the population, Jõgeva and Põlva counties saw the largest loss of young people, along with Hiiumaa, Estonia's second largest island.

Young people as a whole made up 20.6 percent of the overall population – 273,871 individuals – at the beginning of the year.

Five-year decline in youth numbers

Since 2015, the number of young people living in Estonia has fallen by nearly 5,000 with the main factor being declining birthrates

Statistics Estonia's leading analyst Ethel Maasing said: "Children born during the 'Singing Revolution' (late 1980s-early 1990s – ed.) have grown up and are out of the young people's age group."

But these numbers are not being replaced and net emigration of youth is also a factor.

"Almost 4,000 children fewer were born in Estonia in 2012 than 20 years earlier," she said. "Last year, the immigration of young people to Estonia remained at a similar level as in 2018, but almost a thousand more young people emigrated."

Nonetheless, net migration of young people was positive, with 4,283 people aged 7-26 moving to Estonia compared with 3,675 leaving.

Again, Harju County was the main driver here, losing the most young people to emigration in absolute terms, but also receiving the highest number.

Returning Estonian citizens are counted in the immigration figures.

Estonia's counties by population*

CountyPopulationPopulation density (individuals per km2)
Harju County598,059138.21
Tartu County152,97751.11
Ida-Viru County136,24045.84
Pärnu County85,93815.85
Lääne-Viru County59,32516.05
Viljandi County46,37113.55
Võru County35,78215.52
Rapla County33,31112.04
Saare County33,10811.26
Järva County30,28611.32
Jõgeva County28,73411.29
Valga County28,37014.8
Põlva County25,00613.71
Lääne County20,50711.29
Hiiu County9,3879.09

*Figures from January 2019, source: Statistics Estonia


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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