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Estonian population grows by 1,850 in 2016

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PHOTO: Marianne Loorents / Õhtuleht

According to Statistics Estonia's initial estimates, the population of Estonia was 1,317,800 on Jan. 1 this year, which is 1,850 persons more than at the same time a year ago.

The population of Estonia increased for the second consecutive year because immigration has been higher than emigration and negative natural increase combined, the statistical office said on Monday.

The population decreased by 1,370 due to negative natural increase (the number of deaths exceeded the number of births) and increased by 3,220 due to positive net migration (more persons immigrated to Estonia than emigrated). In total, the population of Estonia increased by 0.14 percent in 2016.

In 2016 more than 13,900 children were born in Estonia. The number of births has remained at approximately the same level for five years. Considering that the number of women in childbearing age has decreased, it could be seen as good news, but there is still a long way to go before really good news in births statistics, the statistical office said.

Last year 15,300 deaths were recorded. The number of deaths has been more or less the same for six years in a row, varying by around 150. As the population ages and the number of older people increases year after year, life expectancy is expected to continue to increase.

In 2016, 9,100 people immigrated to Estonia and 5,800 people emigrated. According to Statistics Estonia, migration statistics are the most difficult to estimate based on preliminary data, as they are supplemented with figures from other registers and later on also unregistered migration is added in, which follows the methodology of calculating population based on residency index: if a person changes from resident to non-resident, it is emigration, and in the opposite case, it is immigration (if it is not births or deaths). Reaching the final result is more complicated compared to other events, both technically and methodologically, and can significantly increase migration flows.

Emigration increases mainly due to the unregistered leaving of European Union and Estonian citizens. Immigration increases mainly due to return migration of Estonian citizens, which is also not registered, as their prior leaving was not registered either. Compared to immigration, emigration is registered less, whether knowingly or unknowingly, and therefore emigration will presumably increase more than immigration in the revised population number.

The current outcome is based on changes of residence in the population register in 2016.

In 2015 the population of Estonia increased by 2,673 persons.

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