Analyst: May take decades to see positive natural population growth ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Newborn babies. Photo is illustrative.
Newborn babies. Photo is illustrative. Source: Postimees/Scanpix

The number of births this September exceeded the number deaths that month as well as the number of births last September. Analysts find, however, that this does not yet indicate that Estonia has truly achieved the point of natural population increase, a point which may take decades to reach, according to experts.

A total of 1,226 births and 1,177 deaths were registered at vital statistics offices in Estonia this September. Population growth has been on an increasing trend for several months now, ETV news broadcast Aktuaalne kaamera reported.

Statistics Estonia Senior Analyst Alis Tammur explained that births and deaths tend to be seasonal, and the current positive population growth may not last through the end of the year.

"We're currently seeing more births in summer months, and the number of deaths increases during the winter and fall months," Tammur. "This is why we end up with a five-month period from May through September where population growth is positive."

While the number of women of child-bearing age has decreased over the past five years, the number of births has remained stable, Tammur noted. This means that women have started having more children.

Estonia may finally start to see positive natural population growth once the next generation, i.e. those born at the beginning of the 21st century, reaches child-bearing age.

"A couple decades from now, once the 1990s generation starts to fall out of the child-bearing age range and is replaced by larger generations born at the beginning of this century," Tallinn University (TLÜ) Early-Stage Researcher Mark Gortfelder.

Circular migration

Estonia's population increased 0.4 percent last year. Latvia's population, meanwhile, shrank 0.81 percent. The average life expectancy in Latvia is also three years shorter than in Estonia.

"Emigration is certainly one reason," Gortfelder. "Our geographical proximity to Finland has certainly saved Estonia, as those who would otherwise be emigrants are circular migrants. This means that those with children have also given birth to them in Estonia. As a result, our natural population increase is in better shape than Latvia's."

According to Statistics Estonia, more than half of those who emigrate from Estonia return within two years.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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