Estonia's birthrate set to decline for next 10 years

Children, Source: Kairit Leibold/ERR

Estonia's birthrate is on course to decline for the next decade, experts believe. Last year, the country had the lowest number of births for 100 years.

Last year, fewer than 12,000 babies were born and the number of children born is forecast to fall over the next decade.

This is due to the demographic gap created in the 1990s when fewer children were born. As a result, there are now fewer people reaching childbearing age.

"The babies born in the 1980s are now in their 30s and are slowly moving out [of the childbearing phase]. And the generations that have already taken their place are about 40 percent smaller," Puur told "Aktuaalne kaamera".

The number of births last year dropped by more than 10 percent, and it is thought around 200 fewer babies will be born every year in the future.

"It should then move to somewhere around 11,000 [births a year] as a result of this long-term decline," he said.

Despite the low number of babies born in 2022, the population as a whole grew by 2 percent due to the arrival of thousands of Ukrainian refugees.

As of January 1, it stood at 1,357,739 people.

Estonia is a country of immigration

Migration is helping to keep the population rate steady and Estonia has had net positive migration for several years already, Wednesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.

"In the last five years, Estonia has become a country of immigration, with many people of different nationalities coming to the country. If we look at the census 10 years ago, there were 184 different nationalities represented in Estonia, now, according to the last census, there are 211 ethnic nationalities living in Estonia.," said Terje Trasberg, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia.

Ukrainians made up 75 percent of new immigrants last year, she said.

Allan Puur said a 2 percent population rise is very unusual. "These are the kind of growth figures we see in the world perhaps only in African countries," he said.

Many immigrants are actually Estonians returning to Estonia from Finland.

"The corona years have confused things somewhat, but the overall trend is still that more Estonians are coming back than are leaving," Trasberg said.

Ethnic Estonians total 69 percent of the country's population and this has not changed for a decade.

Residents are allowed to decide their nationality and, as the most recent census shows, this can change over time.

"This basic change of nationality is that, for example, people who were Russian, now at some point change to Estonian. This is more visible among younger people who used to be Russian. But here we are talking about very small trends, there are no very big changes," Trasberg told AK.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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