Estonia 2035: Birth rate increase needed to maintain Estonian populace

A draft of the
A draft of the "Estonia 2035" future strategy. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

The first-ever future strategy is being developed in Estonia, aiming to set guidelines until 2035 for the actions needed to ensure the sustainability of the Estonian populace.

At a meeting of politicians and scientists on Thursday near Pühajärve, Otepää, goals for birth rate increase to ensure the Estonian populace remains were discussed.

Allan Puur, professor at the Estonian Institute for Population Studies at Tallinn University (TLÜ), said Estonia ranks fifth among European countries in birth rates up to peoples' late 40s. "Around 1.8 or 1.9 is the number of children born for every Estonian. If we consider the recovery level needed to maintain populace is 2.1, we are a tenth or so behind."

More than a tenth of Estonians reaching their forties do not have children. Child benefits, meaning money, can attract people to create families but society needs to become child-friendlier as a whole. Soon, the first-ever Estonian future strategy will reach government and the Riigikogu.

Minister of Population Riina Solman (Isamaa) noted that there is a decrease of around a third of people in the generation reaching age of childbirth now - women born in the 1990s.

Solman said: "There will be less children born in the next decade because of that. But we also have positive news. Research shows the contrary, half of Estonian families want three or more children. But they do not reach the ideal."

The balance of European Union citizens, including those coming to and leaving Estonia, is currently in good order but many people migrate to Estonia.

Jaak Valge (EKRE), historian and MP, noted that migrators mainly come from two geographical regions - a Slavic region, consisting of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, which makes up nearly half of the 5,000 migrated.

Valge added: "The second region can not be specified geographically but we can say they are third world countries. And it is not like 5,000 is a small number for a small nation. It is about the same capacity Estonia had at the last years of the Soviet Union."

For more Estonians to return to their home country, higher wages are needed. At the same time, when compared to Latvia, the proximity of Finland allows Estonians to maintain closer relationships to their home country than the Latvians who travel to Great Britain for work.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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