Estonian population increases by over 5,000 in 2018

Population change from 2009-2019.
Population change from 2009-2019. Source: Statistics Estonia

According to revised information released by Statistics Estonia on Thursday, a total of 1,324,820 people lived in Estonia as of Jan. 1, 2019, up 5,687 on year. In 2018, the population decreased by 1,384 due to negative natural change, but increased by 7,071 as a result of positive net migration.

14,367 children were born in Estonia in 2018, or 600 children more than the year before. The last time the number of births exceeded this was in 2011. In the current demographic situation, the number of women of childbearing age is decreasing every year. Thus, an increase in the number of births is reflected in higher birth rates.

The total fertility rate was 1.67 in 2018, whereas just a year earlier it was 1.59. The relatively sharp increase can be attributed to larger state support to families with three and more children. In this century, the total fertility rate was highest in 2008-2010 (at 1.72) and lowest in 2001 (at 1.32).

The number of deaths has remained stable for over a decade, which in an aging society signifies increased life expectancy. The rate of births to deaths has been in the range of -1900 to -1300 for seven years. The stable number of births and deaths and the resulting natural increase is a positive indicator at the time when the number of older people is increasing and the number of women at childbearing age is decreasing.

In 2018, Estonia's net migration was positive for the fourth year in a row. 17,547 people took up residence in Estonia and 10,476 persons left Estonia. Immigration did not change compared to the previous year, but there were a few thousand fewer emigrants. As a result, net migration in 2018 was higher by 1,800 people than in 2017. The net migration of men continued to be higher than that of women.

The highest number of immigrants to Estonia were aged 20-34 and emigrants 25-34. The number of working-age people (20-64 years old) increased by 6,270 as a result of migration. Despite significant immigration, the population of the same age group decreased by 1,000 persons. The entering age group of 20-year-olds was smaller by 4,000 compared to the group of 65-year-olds. A total of 3,000 persons aged 20-64 died.

Estonian citizens accounted for the highest share of both immigrants and emigrants: 45 percent and 63 percent, respectively. The net migration of Estonian citizens as well as those of other EU Member States was positive. By country, net migration was largest for citizens of Ukraine (1,208), Russia (803) and Latvia (533). The most movement still takes place between Estonia and Finland.

In 2018, immigration from Finland and emigration to Finland were the largest. The net migration with Finland was positive for the second year in a row (by 657). Ukraine and Russia had the greatest net migration: 782 and 731 persons, respectively.

Immigrants to Estonia settled mostly in Harju County (64 percent), specifically in Tallinn (55 percent). Tartu County was also a major destination (14 percent). In changes of place of residence within Estonia, Harju County dominated; however, for the first time in nearly a decade, Tallinn's net migration was negative. The population grew as a result of internal migration mainly in Harju and Tartu Counties, but outside the county centers. Ida-Viru County lost the most residents due to internal migration.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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