Immigration exceeded emigration for the third year in a row

news release no 50

According to the revised data of Statistics Estonia, 1,319,133 persons lived in Estonia on 1 January 2018, which is 3,499 persons more than at the same a year earlier. In 2017, the population figure decreased by 1,759 persons due to natural increase, but increased by 5,258 persons as a result of positive net migration.

Estonia’s net migration was positive for the third year in a row. 17,616 persons took up residence in Estonia and 12,358 persons left Estonia in 2017. Thus, positive net migration was at a record high in 2017 – immigration exceeded emigration by 5,258 persons. The net migration of men continued to be higher than that of women, but the net migration of both sexes was positive. The most active group of migrants are persons in their 20s and 30s. In net terms, the Estonian population gains mostly younger people: the number of 20–24-year-olds in the population increased by nearly a thousand persons as a result of migration. The age group 20–49 increased by 3,440 persons due to migration.

Nearly a half of the persons who immigrated to Estonia were Estonian citizens, followed by citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Finland and Latvia. Estonian citizens accounted for two thirds of emigrants, the rest were mainly persons with Russian, Finnish and undetermined citizenship. Based on net migration, the number of citizens of Ukraine and Latvia increased the most (by 744 and 683 persons, respectively). The net migration of Estonian citizens has increased over the years, but in 2017 it was positive for the first time. A part of the increase in net migration resulted from improvements in Statistics Estonia’s rules for determining permanent residents, i.e. the residency index methodology, which allowed calculating immigration more precisely and revising immigration numbers for previous years. The net migration of Estonian citizens would have increased without this methodological change, but would have remained negative.

13,784 persons were born and 15,543 persons died in 2017. In comparison to the previous year, the number of births declined by a couple of hundred and the number of children born per woman was also smaller – in 2016, the number was 1.60 and, in 2017, it was 1.59. The mother’s average age at birth of child was 30.4 years. Women in age group 25–34 account for the highest number of births, but this age group is decreasing in the population, as the small cohorts born in the 1990s are reaching that age. The number of deaths has been relatively stable in the last ten years.

Change in population figure, 2008–2017

In calculating the population figure, Statistics Estonia uses rules for identifying permanent residents, i.e. the residency index. See how register data are used to determine who is a permanent resident and who has left Estonia. More detailed information on the residency index is available in Quarterly Bulletin of Statistics Estonia 1/2017.

For the statistical activity „Population“, the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Social Affairs, commissioned by whom Statistics Estonia analyses the data necessary for conducting the statistical activity.

For further information:

Alis Tammur
Leading Analyst
Social Statistics and Analysis Department
Statistics Estonia
Tel +372 625 8481

More detailed data have been published in the Statistical Database (population figure, components of change in population figure, natural increase, migration, age-specific death rates, age-specific fertility rates).