Estonia’s population decreased in 2021

According to the preliminary data of Statistics Estonia, on 1 January 2022, the population of Estonia was 1,328,439 – 1,629 people less than at the same time a year ago.

Terje Trasberg, an analyst at the country’s official statistics agency, said that last year stands out for an “exceptionally high” number of deaths – there were 13,138 births and 18,445 deaths in Estonia in 2021.

“In the last ten years, the number of deaths has ranged between 15,000 and 16,000, and the difference from year to year has been around 300. Thus, the number of deaths recorded last year was extraordinary. We can analyse the causes of death more thoroughly in spring, when we receive detailed data. But it is safe to assume that the large number of deaths from coronavirus and the hot summer were among the key factors,” Trasberg noted.

Net migration is positive

On the other hand, net migration was again positive. Based on the data on registered migration – ie excluding illegal immigration – 12,280 people immigrated to Estonia, while 8,602 people emigrated from Estonia. “In the past, positive net migration has helped boost the population figure, but in 2021 it was not enough, and the population figure decreased,” Trasberg said. 

Compared with 2020, immigration increased by 1,890 peopleand emigration by 1,282 people. The analyst added that migration statistics are the most difficult to estimate based on preliminary data, as Statistics Estonia will later supplement migration data with population register data and data on unregistered migration.

A hundred years ago, in 1922, the population of Estonia was 1,097,733. The population figure was the highest in 1990, when it was 1,570,599. Over the last 20 years, the population of Estonia has been roughly 1.3 million.

Cover: A population map of Estonia. Illustration by Evelyn Uuemaa.

1 thought on “Estonia’s population decreased in 2021”

  1. Kaido Ojamaa-VKV

    The subject of Estonia’s small poulation has been discussed over and over. Some in the know claim that the population of ethinic Estonians must acheive at least 2 million in order to have a healthy balance and chance of survivability.

    It behooves ethnic Estonians to come to the realization that there was valid reasoning as to why in many different eras throughout history various countries leadership demanded and supported that the local populace to keep cranking out babies.

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