Estonia’s net migration was positive in 2016

news release no 59

According to Statistics Estonia, 14,822 persons immigrated to and 13,792 persons emigrated from Estonia in 2016. Immigration exceeded emigration for the second year. Most of the migrants were Estonian citizens, but their net migration was negative.

The most active group of migrants are 20–39-year-olds. The age group that grows the most in the population due to migration is that of 15–39-year-olds. 60% of the migrants are men and 40% are women. The net migration of men is four times higher than that of women – 800 more men arrived in Estonia in 2016 than left the country, whereas the same number for women was 200.

Most of the migrants are Estonian citizens, but there are more of them among emigrants, causing the net migration of Estonian citizens to be negative by 2,000 persons in 2016. The migrants are Estonian citizens aged 20–59, therefore, the age group of migration is quite large. In net terms, Estonia mainly loses citizens who are in their twenties.

As a result of migration, the number of Ukrainian citizens grew the most in Estonia; 850 more Ukrainian citizens arrived in Estonia in 2016 than left Estonia. In net migration, they were followed by the citizens of the Russian Federation, Finland and Latvia.

Immigration by citizenship, 2016

Emigration by citizenship, 2016

The immigrants to Estonia mostly come from Finland (45% of immigrants), Ukraine (11%) and Russia (11%).  88% of the immigrants come from Europe, mainly from the European Union. The main destination country for emigrants is still Finland (58%), followed by the United Kingdom (9%). 94% of the emigrants left to a European country. The immigrants arriving from countries outside Europe have previously lived in the USA, Australia and India. The more popular destinations for emigrants leaving Estonia to non-European countries are Australia and the USA.

The press conference which presents an overview of the 2016 migration trends takes place today, on 23 May at 11 in the 5th floor conference room of Statistics Estonia (Tatari 51).

As of 2015, Statistics Estonia calculates external migration based on the residency index: a person’s transition from (Estonian permanent) resident to non-resident is emigration and the opposite is immigration (unless it is a case of birth or death). As a result, migration flows have increased and this must be taken into account when comparing migration data of 2015 and later to that of previous years. As a result of the changes, Estonia’s external migration also reflects unregistered migration; however, the country of origin and destination of many immigrants and emigrants remains unknown.

For the statistical activity “Vital events. Migration”, the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Social Affairs, commissioned by whom Statistics Estonia analyses the data necessary for performing this statistical activity.

For further information:

Alis Tammur
Senior Analyst
Methodology and Analysis Department
Statistics Estonia
Tel +372 625 8481

More detailed data have been published in the Statistical Database.