The population of Estonia decreased last year

news release no 7

According to the initial estimates of Statistics Estonia, the population number of Estonia as at 1 January 2016 was 1,311,800, which is 1,500 persons fewer than at the same time a year ago.

The population decreased by 1,400 due to negative natural increase (the number of deaths exceeded the number of births) and by 100 due to negative net migration (more persons emigrated from than immigrated to Estonia). In total, the population of Estonia decreased by 0.1% in 2015. The previous time the population decreased by less than 2,000 persons was 6 years ago but back then the main reason for this was the elevated natural increase. In 2015, net external migration was at its highest level since the restoration of independence in Estonia.

According to initial data, nearly 14,000 children were born in Estonia in 2015, which is nearly 400 children more than in 2014. Considering that the number of women in childbearing age has decreased, there were more children born per woman in 2015 than the year before, according to preliminary estimates. There were 15,400 deaths in 2015. The number of deaths has remained at this level for five years in a row, varying by just +/-100. As the population is ageing and the number of elderly persons increases year after year, it can be presumed that life expectancy will continue to increase.

In 2015, 6,600 persons immigrated to and 6,700 persons emigrated from Estonia, according to preliminary estimates. Based on those figures, it can be said that the Estonian foreign migration was balanced. Migration statistics are most difficult to estimate based on preliminary data, as Statistics Estonia supplements migration figures with data from additional sources and reaching the final result is more complicated compared to other events, both technically and methodologically. The current result is based on the changes in place of residence which were registered in the Population Register in 2015. Here, in the case of immigration, the previous place of residence, and in the case of emigration, the new place of residence is in a foreign country. Persons who have been issued a residence permit in 2015 for at least a year and whose country of origin is unknown as of yet have been added to these data.

Diagram: Population change, 2000–2015

Population statistics are based on the population number of the 2011 population census, which has been adjusted for under-coverage. This number is adjusted annually with the data on registered vital events – births, deaths and changes of residence (migration). Starting from the 2000 population census, under-coverage has been added to the enumerated persons in population statistics. The period between the two last censuses has also been adjusted taking into account unregistered migration.

The initial population number is based on initial data on births, deaths and migration. Statistics Estonia will publish the revised population number on 4 May 2016 and the revised migration data on 25 May 2016.

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.