Estonia's falling birthrate linked to insecurity, crises, population change

A baby's feet (picture is illustrative).
A baby's feet (picture is illustrative). Source: Pixabay

Estonia's birthrate has dropped to a 100-year low due to consecutive crises, young people choosing to not have children and a changing population structure, a researcher said.

Earlier this week, new data showed births in Estonia have fallen to their lowest level for a century. Tuesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" looked into the causes.

Last year, there were 1,550 fewer children born than in 2021, the year following the coronavirus pandemic.

Researchers put this down to crises, rising social insecurity and Estonia's shrinking population.

The University of Tartu's sociology and social policy senior researcher Mare Ainsaar said: "One of the reasons is that we have fewer people in Estonia who could theoretically have children. But that's not the whole explanation. There's certainly another factor, and it's probably still linked to insecurity and all the crises that have hit us in recent years."

AK asked if postponing births until a more stable time would have an impact?

"Today's data tends to show that when this postponement, for whatever reason, takes place, the final number of births is usually also lower," said Ainsaar.

Several women the show spoke to said they had not decided to postpone having children, but actually given up on the idea altogether.

"I just know that I have other concerns and other things I want to do. I'm just not able to give the kids my attention and resources," said Jana Levitina.

Marianne Ubaleht said: "If our parents, and maybe those a little bit older, had children because that is what people did, today we are looking at what the world is like, what our own mental health is like. And just because a woman doesn't have children doesn't mean she will never be a parent. We have orphanages, shelters full of children without parents. Why not contribute to society in a different way?"


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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