77 percent of Estonians prioritize reaching replacement birth rate level

Mother and child.
Mother and child. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

A Norstat poll, commissioned by NGO Institute for Societal Studies, found that 77 percent of people in Estonia believe that reaching the replacement level number of births is important, while 17 percent said it is unimportant.

The replacement level of birth rate means a family having just over two children on average for a situation where the number of children is roughly the same as the number of parents. With generations of children and parents the same size, a country's population can only grow or diminish as a result of migration, the NGO says in the study results.

Women in Estonia are currently having 1.8 children on average, meaning that the Estonian population is shrinking roughly at a rate of 10 percent over two generations. Hitting the replacement level would require a birth rate of 2.06 children.

The respondents were asked what they thought about potentially achieving the replacement birth rate by 2035. On a scale of one to six, 17 percent of people found it to be "completely unimportant," "unimportant," or "rather unimportant," while 77 percent said it was "rather important," "important" or "very important."

Supporters of all parliamentary parties believe it is necessary to reach the birth rate required for population replacement. The goal is closest to the hearts of Isamaa backers (91 percent), followed by those of EKRE (85 percent), Center Party (82 percent), Eesti 200 (79 percent) and the Reform Party (77 percent). Achieving the replacement level is seen as less of a priority by Social Democratic Party voters (59 percent).

Norstat also asked respondents to weigh four other targets. 89 percent of people questioned considered it important to reduce relative poverty to 25 percent by 2035, while 77 percent believe it is important to switch to only teaching in Estonian. 72 percent of respondents believe Estonia should restore fiscal balance by 2030 and 63 percent feel Estonia should switch fully to renewable sources of electricity and hear by 2045.

The poll also found that 68 percent of people believe Estonia should increase funding for measures aimed at boosting the birth rate, while 24 percent believe this should not be done.

Norstat polled 1,000 adult citizens electronically July 27-28.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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