Survey: Half of Estonian women would like three or more children

A father at home with his young children. Estonia has one of the most generous parental leave systems in the world.
A father at home with his young children. Estonia has one of the most generous parental leave systems in the world. Source: Eesti Meedia/Scanpix

In a survey carried out by pollster Turu-uuringute AS in September this year, 44% of the women interviewed said they think three children is the ideal number, while 5% of respondents would like four children or more. 49% of mothers of two would like to have more children.

Asked what is keeping them from having more children, respondents named economic restrictions as the main reason, notably the increasing financial responsibilities and their low income.

Nearly half of mothers of two said that an increase in state support would contribute to their wish to have another child. Those respondents currently living in a place they consider too small apparently were particularly emphatic here.

Taavi Tamkivi, representative of the non-profit Lasterikaste Isade MTÜ for fathers of four or more children, said that the biggest obstacles to having more children are economic as well as socio-cultural in nature.

'Fortunately, due to financial support to large families the number of third children has grown by 32% compared to last year. Meanwhile, along with the state benefits, expenses such as nursery school fees have also increased. Today's third-child benefit is a fixed amount as well, which is becoming less and less helpful in real life due to inflation,' he said.

Family benefits paid to families with three children are already drastically higher than those paid to parents of only two. While two children get you €110 a month, three already mean €500 in benefits.

Tamkivi added that the birth rate will increase if the number of women with three or more children grows. However, in 15 years the age group to have three or more children will be 30% smaller compared to that of today. 'For that reason, contributing to family policy measures needs to continue. The state and local government can do a lot to make sure that a family's quality of life doesn't decrease with more children.'

He added that an attitude should be cultivated in society that three to five children are a normality. 'That it's the sign of an ordinary, strong family that stick together, not an exception.'

The survey was carried out by Turu-uuringute AS for MTÜ Eesti Sündimusuuringud, a non-profit focused on analysing Estonian birth trends. In August and September 2018, 505 mothers of two aged up to 40 years were polled in face-to-face interviews.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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