Estonia sees positive net migration for third year in a row

Net migration to Estonia is up for the third year running.
Net migration to Estonia is up for the third year running. Source: Sander Koit/ERR

According to revised data released by Statistics Estonia on Wednesday morning, 1,319,133 persons lived in Estonia as of Jan. 1, 2018, marking an increase of 3,499 persons on year.

In 2017, the population figure decreased by 1,759 persons due to natural increase, but increased by 5,258 persons as a result of positive net migration.

Estonia’s net migration was positive for the third year in a row. 17,616 persons took up residence in Estonia and 12,358 persons left Estonia in 2017. Thus, positive net migration reached a record high in 2017, with immigration exceeding emigration by 5,258 persons.

While the net migration of men remained higher than that of women, both remained positive last year. The most active group of migrants are persons in their 20s and 30s. In net terms, the Estonian population gains primarily younger people: the number of 20-24-year-olds in the population increased by nearly one thousand as a result of migration. The 20-49 age group increased by 3,440 persons as a result of migration.

Nearly half of those who immigrated to Estonia were Estonian citizens, followed by citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Finland and Latvia. Estonian citizens accounted for two thirds of emigrants; the rest consisted of mainly persons with Russian, Finnish and undetermined citizenship. Based on net migration, the number of citizens of Ukraine and Latvia increased the most (by 744 and 683 persons, respectively).

The net migration of Estonian citizens has increased over the years, but in 2017 it was positive for the first time. Part of the increase in net migration can be attributed to improvements in Statistics Estonia's rules for determining permanent residents, i.e. the residency index methodology, which allowed for the more precise calculation of immigration as well as the revision of immigration figures for previous years. Without this methodological change, the net migration of Estonian citizens would have increased, but remained negative.

13,784 persons were born and 15,543 persons died in 2017. In comparison to the previous year, the number of births declined by a couple of hundred, while the number of children born per woman also decreased — in 2016, the number was 1.60, and decreased to 1.59 last year. The mother's average age at their child's birth was 30.4 years. Women in the 25-34 age group account for the highest number of births, but this age group is decreasing in size in the Estonian population, as the small population group born in the 1990s reaches this age. The number of deaths, meanwhile, has been relatively stable in the last ten years.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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