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Immigration exceeds emigration in Estonia for first time since reindependence

A total of 15,413 people immigrated to and 13,003 people emigrated from Estonia in 2015, making for a net migration total of 2,410. Subtracting from that the country’s rate of natural increase (RNI) of -1,336, immigration to Estonia still compensated for the population decrease caused by its negative RNI with a net positive of 1,074 people.

According to Statistics Estonia, the most active age group in emigration was 20-39, however with the exception of the 10-14 and 25-29 age groups, immigration exceeded emigration across all ages last year.

Greater totals of men than women immigrated to and emigrated from Estonia, however, based on net migration, more men that women continue to remain abroad. 52 percent of those immigrating to and 69 percent of those emigrating from Estonia were Estonian citizens, which means that the back and forth movement of the country’s own citizens accounts for the majority of emigration from Estonia.

21 percent of immigrants to Estonia were citizens of the EU; 27 percent were citizens of third countries. In comparison, 15 percent of those emigrating from Estonia consisted of EU citizens, while third country citizens accounted for another 10 percent.

Immigrating EU citizens were on average younger than immigrating Estonian and third country citizens; on the part of Estonian citizens, this could be explained by the fact that their numbers mostly consisted of those returning to live in Estonia.

Out of the citizenships most represented among emigrants from the country, only the number of Estonians fell as a result of net migration; the biggest growth was seen among the number of individuals with third country citizenship.

As a result of immigration, it is mostly Ukrainian, Russian and Finnish citizens who remain living in Estonia; the immigration and emigration of EU citizens and individuals of undetermined citizenship canceled each other out.

Out of those whose destination or source country abroad is known, the majority have either immigrated from or emigrated to Finland. Other popular migration destinations included other highly developed European countries such as Great Britain and Germany.

In addition to Finland, other primary source countries of immigration included Ukraine and Russia. 49 percent of those moving to Estonia were themselves born in Estonia, while 11 percent were from Russia and an additional eight percent were from Ukraine. Among those moving out of Estonia, 68 percent were born there, while nine percent were from Russia and another four percent from Finland.

Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik

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