Number of households with children is decreasing

According to the data of the 2011 Population and Housing Census (PHC 2011), there were 599,832 households in Estonia. Compared to the previous, 2000 Population Census, the share of households with children younger than 18 years of age has decreased from 33.6% to 25.2%.

In 2011, one-family households  accounted for 56.7% of all households (i.e. households with married or cohabiting  couples or households with lone parent), where 75.7% of household members  lived. Compared to 2000, the share of households with cohabiting couples has  increased (from 10.1% to 13.6%) and the share of households with married  couples has decreased (from 36.8% to 30.1%). The share of households with lone  parents among one-family households has decreased by 1.7 percentage points. The  number and share of households with one member has increased considerably.

There were a few multi-family  households in Estonia, where e.g. the family of grandparents and younger  generation lived together (1.6%), there were also a few non-family households  with several members (1.8%) (e.g. households where two sisters or brothers or a  grandparent with a grandchild lived together).

In 2000, there were children  younger than 18 years of age in every third household (33.6%), in 2011 only in  every fourth household (25.2%). The number of households with children aged  less than 18 years decreased by more than 44,000, of which the number of  households with one child decreased over 25,000 and the number of families with  several children over 19,000.

The younger the children, the more  often they live with cohabiting parents (41.3% of children aged less than 3 years,  20.5% of children aged 12–17). The older the children, the more often they live  in families of lone parents (16.8% of children aged less than 3 years, 28% of  children aged 12–17). The last fact characterises the trend of decay of  families – many children are not born in the families of lone parents, but stay  living with one parent as a result of the decay of the family.

Although the number of permanent  residents has decreased by more than 75,000 persons compared to 2000, in 2011  the number of households has grown by 3%. This has brought along the decrease in  the size of the average household from 2.33 members to 2.13 members. The share  of one-member households has grown significantly (from 33.5% to 39.9%, but the  share of households larger than average, first and foremost households with 3  and 4 members has decreased (from 18.8% to 15.9% and from 13.3% to 10.5%,  respectively).

There are several  reasons for the above mentioned changes. Firstly, compared to the 2000 Census  the number of children younger than 18 years of age in total population has  declined by 74,000. That is the reason why the number and share of households  with children has decreased significantly, but in general the households with  children aged less than 18 years are households with the biggest number of  members. Secondly, the share of elderly people in population has increased who  usually live alone or two together. The third reason is connected with the  improvement of living conditions, as a result of which households connecting  several families have often decayed and families have started to live  separately. This is shown by the changes in the structure of households as well  as in the size of living area and number of dwellings. Fourthly, the number of  one-member households has increased on account of the growth in the number of  students by more than 11,000.

Read more from Statistics Estonia blog

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