According to the revised data of Statistics Estonia, 1,315,944 persons lived in Estonia on 1 January 2016 – 2,673 persons more than at the same time a year earlier. The population figure decreased by 1,336 persons due to negative natural increase, but increased by 2,410 as a result of positive net migration. The increase in the population figure was also influenced by changes in the calculation methodology, resulting in 1,599 persons being added to the population.
An important change of 2015 was the positive net migration, meaning that immigration exceeded emigration. In 2015, 15,413 persons took up residence in Estonia while 13,003 persons left. As of 2015 Statistics Estonia also takes into account unregistered migration in addition to registered migration. As external migration is often left unregistered by the residents of Estonia, the size of migration flows increased as a result compared to previous years.
The population also increased due to Statistics Estonia’s new population calculation methodology, following which the classification of persons into permanent residents is carried out using an index that is calculated based on registers. When preparing for the 2020 register-based Population and Housing Census, Statistics Estonia analysed the quality of official databases (registers) and compiled the residency index for inhabitants based on that data. When using register data it became apparent that there were 1,599 more persons living in Estonia compared to what was indicated by the previously used population census data. The population mainly increased as a result of immigration of European Union citizens, which the previous methodology reflected to a smaller extent.
In 2015, 13,907 persons were born and 15,243 persons died. The number of births increased compared to the two previous years but was 2,000 births smaller than in 2010, which was the peak of the increase in births. The number of women in childbearing age has also decreased in the past five years. The number of deaths has been declining since the mid-1990s and in the past six years the number of deaths per year has remained between 15,000 and 16,000.
As an update, Statistics Estonia has additionally made some changes in the data. The most important methodological change is that we use the place of residence marked in the Population Register as the place of residence. This is something that has to be taken into account when analysing changes in the population. In connection to the continuously increasing life expectancy, Statistics Estonia now publishes population indicators until the age 100+ (instead of the previous 85+). In the population of local government, the population of city districts has also been distinguished. Persons who were active in various registers in Estonia but who do not have their place of residence marked in the Population Register are classified under “County unknown” in the Statistical Database.
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