Child population up 9 percent in Estonia over ten-year period

Triplets born in Tallinn in 2017.
Triplets born in Tallinn in 2017. Source: East Tallinn Central Hospital

The latest census figures show that 259,341 children aged 0-17 live in Estonia, constituting 19.5 percent of the total population. The number of children living in Estonia has increased by 9.1 percent since the last census was taken ten years ago.

According to the census results, which were published today, the highest proportion of children in Estonia live in Harju and Tartu counties (62 percent), with the lowest share in Hiiu (15.5 percent) and Ida-Viru (16 percent) counties.

26,656 of the children living in Estonia are under two years of age, with 71,779 aged 2–6, 57,200 between 7–10 and 62,157 children 11–14.

Terje Trasberg, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia, said, that 11-year-old boys currently make up the largest single group of children, with a total of 8,905. "These boys were one year old during the previous census ten years ago, when they were also the biggest group. The overall number of children is bigger than ten years ago, but there are now fewer children aged under four in Estonia than in 2011. This reflects the low birth rates of recent years," said Trasberg.

Tartu county boasts the highest regional proportion of children, with over a fifth of the total population (21.5 percent) aged 0-17 according to the census figures. The proportion of children is also above the Estonian national average of 19.5 percent in Harju and Rapla counties.

Among local municipalities, the share of children was noticeably higher in Rae (31.5 percent), Kiili (28.5 percent) and Kambja (27.5 percent) municipalities. "I should also mention Luunja Municipality, where the proportion of children aged under two was 3.2 percent of the total population – this is the second-highest share in Estonia after Rae rural municipality (3.6 percent). The proportion of children was especially low on the small islands of Ruhnu and Vormsi, as well as in the town of Loksa, where it is under 13 percent of the population," said Trasberg. 

The census results show a fall in the proportion of women with one or two children, while the share of women in Estonia who have three or four children has increased to 12.5 percent, and 3 percent respectively.

The average number of children per woman has not changed significantly. According to the census results, women in Estonia aged 15 and over have an average of 1.55 children. The number of children per woman is highest in Jõgeva county (1.88) and lowest in Harju county (1.38).

"For younger women, the average number of children fell, with the biggest decrease per woman recorded for those aged 27–30. This reflects the fact that the current average age at which women have their first child is considerably higher (than before)," added Trasberg.

According to the data, the average age at which women have their first child was lowest in Valga county and highest in Harju county.

The census also showed that 39.59 percent of women in Estonia aged 15-49 do not have any children, an increase on previous census figures.

This overview is based on data from the 2021 Population and Housing Census. Statistics Estonia will publish the census results in instalments from June 1 until the end of the year.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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