Population Census – Estonia’s population has grown by nearly 3% in the last decade
Text Mark Taylor Photo Andrei Chertkov
According to data collected from the population register for the census in 2021, Estonia’s population has risen, so has the number of Estonians. However, the number of working age persons has fallen. Over the last decade, Estonia has also seen a rise in the number of ethnic nationalities, countries of citizenship, mother tongues, and countries of birth.
At the time of the census on 31 December 2021, there were 1,331,824 people living permanently in Estonia, which is 2.9% more than at the same time ten years ago. Men account for 47.6% of the population and their share increased by 1.2 percentage points, while the share of women is 52.4%. The average inhabitant of Estonia is 42.2 years old, or 1.4 years older than the average inhabitant at the 2011 census.
“The positive side of an ageing population is that the number of people aged 80 and over has increased. In other words, our people are living longer, and this is particularly noticeable for men. Compared to the time of the previous census, men live on average 3 years longer and women 1.7 years longer. The problem here is the proportion of women of child-bearing age, which has declined, but this has been mitigated to some extent by the increase in the number of children born per woman and the increase in the number of children,” explained Terje Trasberg, a leading analyst at Statistics Estonia.
Over the past decade, Estonia has seen an increase in both the number of children (0–14-year-olds) and the number of older persons (65+), whereas the number of working-age persons has fallen. There are 217,792 children living permanently in Estonia, which is 9% more than ten years ago. The total number of older persons is 272,164, or 18.6% more than in the previous census. The number of working-age persons is 841,868 – a decrease of 2.7%.
According to census data, compared to 2011, Estonia’s population is much more diverse, and the number of people of ethnic Estonian nationality has also risen.
“Over the past 10 years, the number of ethnic nationalities, countries of citizenship, and mother tongues has increased, but the share of Estonians has remained almost unchanged. The number of native speakers of Estonian has been stable as well. The number of Estonian citizens has increased, while the number of citizens of Russia and Belarus has decreased,” Trasberg added.
There are people of 211 ethnic nationalities residing in Estonia, which is 31 more than 10 years ago. A total of 151 different citizenships are represented in Estonia – 33 more than 10 years ago. 69.4% of people living in Estonia are of Estonian ethnic nationality, up from 68,3% 20 years ago.
In the last 10 years, the number of Estonians increased nearly 2%, the number of Russians decreased 3.4%, and the number of Belarusians fell by 7.7%. The number of Ukrainians has increased 23% (this statistic does not include war refugees who have arrived in Estonia after the moment of the census), and the number of Latvians has risen by 117%.
There are 243 different languages spoken as a mother tongue in Estonia, which is 86 more than in 2011 and more than twice as many as in 2000. The proportion of Estonian as a mother tongue has remained virtually unchanged in the last 20 years at around 68%.