More births and smaller emigration increased the population figure

news release no 53

According to the revised data of Statistics Estonia, 1,324,820 persons lived in Estonia on 1 January 2019, which is 5,687 persons more than at the same time a year earlier. In 2018, the population figure decreased by 1,384 persons due to negative natural change, but increased by 7,071 persons as a result of positive net migration.

14,367 children were born in Estonia in 2018, which is 600 children more than the year before. The last time the number of births was higher than this was in 2011. There is a demographic situation where the number of women of childbearing age decreases every year. Therefore, an increase in the number of births is reflected in higher birth rates. The total fertility rate was 1.67 in 2018, whereas just a year earlier it was 1.59. The relatively sharp increase can be attributed to larger state support to families with three and more children. In this century, the total fertility rate was highest in 2008–2010 (at 1.72) and lowest in 2001 (at 1.32).

The number of deaths has remained stable for over a decade, which in an ageing society signifies increased life expectancy. The rate of births to deaths has been in the range of -1900 to -1300 for seven years. The stable number of births and deaths and the resulting natural increase is a positive indicator at the time when the number of older people is increasing and the number of women at childbearing age is decreasing.

In 2018, Estonia’s net migration was positive for the fourth year in a row. 17,547 persons took up residence in Estonia and 10,476 persons left Estonia. Immigration did not change compared to the previous year, but there were a few thousand less emigrants. As a result, net migration was by 1,800 persons higher than in 2017. The net migration of men continued to be higher than that of women. The highest number of immigrants to Estonia were aged 20–34 and emigrants 25–34. The number of working-age people (20–64 years old) increased by 6,270 persons as a result of migration. Despite great immigration, the population of the same age group decreased by 1,000 persons. The entering age group of 20-year-olds was smaller by 4,000 compared to the group of 65-year-olds. A total of 3,000 persons aged 20–64 died.

Estonian citizens accounted for the highest share of both immigrants and emigrants: 45% and 63%, respectively. The net migration of Estonian citizens as well as those of other EU Member States was positive. By country, net migration was largest for citizens of Ukraine (1,208), Russia (803) and Latvia (533). The most movement still takes place between Estonia and Finland. In 2018, immigration from Finland and emigration to Finland were the largest. The net migration with Finland was positive for the second year in a row (by 657). Ukraine and Russia had the greatest net migration: 782 and 731 persons, respectively.

Immigrants to Estonia settled mostly in Harju county (64%), specifically in Tallinn (55%). Tartu county was also a major destination (14%). In changes of place of residence within Estonia, Harju county dominated; however, for the first time in nearly a decade, the net migration of Tallinn was negative. The population grew as a result of internal migration mainly in Harju and Tartu counties, but outside the county centres. Ida-Viru county lost the most residents due to internal migration.

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
Population and Social Statistics 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).