Population is renewed by births. Birth rate is a socially important issue, but having children always comes down to a very personal decision, which must be respected. In Estonia, the birth rate has been significantly lower than the replacement level throughout the period of re-independence. For natural replacement of the population in Estonia, there should be more than two children in a family.
However, from the third child onward, the financial stress of families is greater than with the first two children, which means that some children may not be born. In Estonia, significant measures have been implemented to support births; for example, benefits have been increased for families with at least three children. The need for kindergarten and school places in the near future as well as the number of new parents and the size of the labour force in the longer term depend on the number of births.
The statistics on births focus on families and provide information, such as
- how many children were in a family when a new child was born;
- where do families with newborn children live;
- what characterises parents;
- what is the marital status of parents.
Birth rates make it possible to compare the number of women in fertile age over time. By analysing longer birth patterns, demographers can draw conclusions on the demographic and economic situation of the country.