Population projection shows population decrease is slowing down

Posted on 20 June 2019, 11:00

According to Statistics Estonia’s population projection, in 2080, there will be approximately 1.2 million people in Estonia. Over the next 60 years, the population of Estonia will decrease by 11%, in the next 25 years, by 35,800 persons, and by 2080, by 145,200 persons.

According to the new projection, population decrease is predicted to be about five times smaller than according to the previous projection made on the basis of 2014 data. In the previous projection, population was predicted to be 8% smaller by 2040 than according to the new projection. The change is due to changes in migration trends – the previous projection was made at a time when Estonia lost citizens to external migration, but this trend no longer holds. Therefore, according to the new baseline projection, Statistics Estonia expects the population of Estonia to increase every year due to migration by about 1,500 persons.

Fertility is an important component which mainly influences population growth. By extending the current trends, it can be assumed that fertility rates will continue to increase. Based on the baseline projection, we expect fertility to increase by 2080 to the level where it is currently as a completed fertility rate – 1.86 children per woman on average.

Life expectancy is currently 74 years for men and 82 years for women. These figures have increased gradually over the years and continue to increase in the projection – by 2080, life expectancy will be 83.5 years for men and 89.0 years for women. Male life expectancy will increase slightly faster than female life expectancy, as a result of which, the unexceptionally large gender gap in life expectancy in Estonia compared to other European countries will narrow to 5.5 years.

The projection shows that mainly natural increase will shape population size. There will be fewer births and after some time, the number of deaths will increase. In the context of population change, changes in the age structure of the Estonian population are important. The projection shows that until 2060, the working-age population (aged 15–64) in total population will decrease by 8.6 percentage points, after which there will be a small increase. The proportion of persons aged 65 and over will increase gradually from 20% to 30% by 2060. In 20 years, the proportion of children (aged 0–14) in the population will decline from 16% to 14%, and will then rise slightly. As fertility is below the replacement level fertility, natural increase will remain negative.

Population projection for counties until 2045 was also made. Changes in counties are different: while in Estonia as a whole population decreased by 2.7% by 2045, in Ida-Viru, Järva, Valga and Jõgeva counties it decreased by a third. The population is older than average in counties with declining population; in these counties, it is mainly the number of deaths that affects the population. Population increases the most in Harju county, including Tallinn. The population of Tartu county remains in a slight upward trend.

Population projections are made on the basis of current trends, which are extended into the future. Such extension is never uniform, as the future is unpredictable. Even in the case of stable development, there are always alternative ways for trends to change, let alone in the case of unexpected situations.

Four population projections were made in Statistics Estonia for 2080. The news release covered the baseline scenario. In addition to the baseline scenario, there is a scenario with higher fertility and migration; a scenario where fertility is lower, mortality higher and migration equal; and a scenario where fertility has increased to replacement level fertility by the end of the period.

Statistics Estonia will introduce all four population projections to journalists today, on 20 June, at 11:00 in the ground floor hall (Tatari 51).

More detailed information is available in the statistical database.