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The demographics of Estonia in the 21st century are the result of historical trends over more than a thousand years, just as for most European countries, but have been disproportionately affected by events in the last half of the 20th century. Impact from the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, including the annexation and eventual independence of Estonia, has had a major effect on Estonia's ethnic makeup and educational achievement.

Languages spoken in Estonia are largely reflective of the ethnic groups composing the country, and thus have changed with historical trends affecting the ethnic makeup of the country. Religion plays a small part in the lives of most Estonians, largely as a result of the Soviet occupation from 1944–1991.

Overall, the quality of life indices for Estonia are reflective of a modern industrial state, with one major exception: The population of Estonia is shrinking. While there are other European countries like Estonia with a birthrate that is at less than replacement levels, Estonia lacks the immigration found, for example, in Germany. As such, the population is on a slow downward trend.

Contents

Historical ties

Estonians have strong ties to the Nordic countries and Germany stemming from the strong cultural and religious influences gained over centuries during Danish, German and Swedish rule and settlement. This highly literate society places strong emphasis upon education, which is free and compulsory until age 16. The first known book in Estonian was printed in 1525.

In the 20th century, Estonia's ethnic makeup was altered radically by policies implemented by the Soviet government. Large numbers of ethnic Russians were incentivized to move into the non-Russian republics, including Estonia. The population was further altered by Stalin's mass deportations and executions. And some people simply left as a result of World War II.

Population

Population decline in Estonia
Population of Estonia (1970–2009). Data by Statistics Estonia (2009) [1]
Population of Estonia (1960–2008). Data by NationMaster (based on data by the World Development Indicators database and the CIA World Factbook). The data by NationMaster is based on the de facto definition of population, which includes all residents, except for refugees not permanently settled in the country. The latter are considered to be part of the population of their country of origin.[2]
Natural population increase of Estonia from 1945–2008. Data is taken from Statistics Estonia.[3 ]
  •      Number of births
  •      Number of deaths
  •      Natural population increase

According to data from Statistics Estonia, the population of Estonia is shrinking. While there are other European countries like Estonia with a birthrate that is at less than replacement levels, Estonia lacks immigration to compensate for this population decline. As such, the population is on a slow downward trend. The population increased from 1,351,640 in January 1970 to 1,570,599 in January 1990. In 1990 the population started decreasing to 1,340,415 in January 2009, which is even lower than the number of people living in Estonia in 1970. [1] NationMaster uses different numbers (based on data provided by the World Development Indicators database and the CIA World Factbook) and has data from 1960–2008; the decline can be seen from 1990 onwards as well.[2] The two line graphs of the total population show largely the same curve.

  • 1,340,415 (January 1, 2009; Statistics Estonia) [1][4]
  • 1,376,743 (March 31, 2000; last census)[5]
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Births and deaths

The downward population curve can largely be explained by the death and birth rate. From 1990 onwards the number of deaths outnumbered the number of births, although the line graph of the natural population increase shows the rate of population decrease is slowly diminishing. The crude birth rate of 2008 was 11.96 (16,028 births) and the crude death rate of 2008 was 12.44 (16,675 deaths), making the rate of natural increase −0.48 (−647).[3 ] For more detailed historic data, see the table of birth and death rates below.

Migration

Not only is the number of deaths larger than the number of births; also, the number of emigrants is larger than the number of immigrants. [6]

Ethnic groups

Today, Estonia is a fairly ethnically heterogeneous country, but this heterogeneity is not evenly distributed across the country. In 2008, thirteen of Estonia's fifteen counties were over 80% ethnic Estonian. The counties with the highest percentage Estonians are Hiiu County (98.4%) and Saare County (98.3%). However, in Harju County (which includes the national capital, Tallinn) and Ida-Viru County, ethnic Estonians make up only 59.6% (55.0% in Tallinn) and 19.7% of the population, respectively. In those two counties, Russians account for 32.4% (36.4% in Tallinn) and 71.2% of the population, respectively. In the nation as a whole, Russians make up 25.6% of the total population. [7]

After gaining indepence following World War I a population census was held in 1922 and 1934. At that time Estonians were still the predominant ethnic group, while all others constituted 12% of the population of Estonia.

Population of Estonia according to ethnic group 1922–2006
Ethnic
group
census 19221 census 19341 census 19592 census 19703 census 19794 census 19895 census 20006 20096
Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  %
Estonians 969,976 87.6 992,520 88.1 892,653 74.6 925,157 68.2 947,812 64.7 963,281 61.5 935,884 68.2 921,484 68.7
Russians 91,109 8.2 92,656 8.2 240,227 20.1 334,620 24.7 408,778 27.9 474,834 30.3 354,660 25.8 342,966 25.6
Ukranians 92 0.0 15,769 1.3 28,086 2.1 36,044 2.5 48,271 3.1 29,259 2.1 27,878 2.1
Belorussians 10,930 0.9 18,732 1.4 23,461 1.6 27,711 1.8 17,460 1.3 15,717 1.2
Finns 401 0.0 1,088 0.1 16,699 1.4 18,537 1.4 17,753 1.2 16,622 1.1 11,974 0.9 10,767 0.8
Tatars 166 0.0 1,534 0.1 2,204 0.2 3,195 0.2 4,058 0.3 2,610 0.2 2,461 0.2
Latvians 1,966 0.2 5,435 0.5 2,888 0.2 3,286 0.2 3,963 0.3 3,135 0.2 2,345 0.2 2,199 0.2
Poles 969 0.1 1,608 0.1 2,256 0.2 2,651 0.2 2,897 0.2 3,008 0.2 2,212 0.2 2,035 0.2
Jews 4,566 0.4 4,434 0.4 5,433 0.5 5,282 0.4 4,954 0.3 4,613 0.3 2,178 0.2 1,830 0.1
Lithuanians 436 0.0 253 0.0 1,616 0.1 2,356 0.2 2,379 0.2 2,568 0.2 2,131 0.2 2,072 0.2
Germans 18,319 1.7 16,346 1.5 670 0.1 7,850 0.6 3,944 0.3 3,466 0.2 1,878 0.1 1,905 0.1
Swedes 7,850 0.7 7,641 0.7 435 0.0 254 0.0 297 0.0 300 0.0
Others 11,467 1.0 4,266 0.4 6,116 0.5 6,883 0.5 9,042 0.6 13,798 0.9 9,480 0.7 9,101 0.7
Total 1,107,059 1,126,413 1,196,791 1,356,079 1,464,476 1,565,662 1,372,071 1,340,415
1 Source: [1]. 2 Source: [2]. 3 Source: [3]. 4 Source: [4]. 5 Source: [5]. 6 Source: [6]

As a result of the aforementioned Soviet policies, between 1945 and 1989 the share of ethnic Estonians in the population resident within currently defined boundaries of Estonia dropped from 92% to 61.5%. [8] But in the decade following the reconstitution of independence, large scale emigration by ethnic Russians, as well as ethnic groups of other former Soviet countries, and the removal of the Russian military bases in 1994 caused the proportion of ethnic Estonians in Estonia to increase from 61.5% in 1989 to 68.7% in 2008. In the same period the proportion of ethnic Russians decreased from 30.0% to 25.6%, the proportion of ethnic Ukrainians decreased from 3.1% to 2.1%, and the proportion of ethnic Belorussians decreased from 1.8% to 1.2%. [7] [8]

As of 2008, the largest ethnic groups in Estonia are Estonians (68.7%), Russians (25.6%), Ukrainians (2.1%), Belorussians (1.2%), and Finns (0.8%). These five groups made up 98.4% of Estonia's population. [7] For a more detailed look on every known ethnic group represented in Estonia per the 2000 census, see the Appendix below.

Languages

Many languages are spoken in Estonia, including Estonian (official), Russian, Ukrainian, Võro, Seto, English, Finnish, German and others.

Estonian and Finnish are very closely related, belonging to the same Finnic branch of the Finno-Ugric language family. Although closely related, the two languages are not really mutually intelligible, although educated native speakers can read the other language with a greater or lesser degree of understanding. Both Estonian and Finnish are distantly related to the Ugric Hungarian language.

Written with the Latin alphabet, Estonian is the language of the Estonian people and the official language of the country. One-third of the standard vocabulary is derived from adding suffixes to root words. The oldest known examples of written Estonian originate in 13th century chronicles. During the Soviet era, the Russian language was imposed in parallel to, and often instead of, Estonian in official use.

Religion

According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2005,[9] 16% of Estonian citizens responded that "they believe there is a god", whereas 54% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 26% that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force". This, according to the survey, would have made Estonians the most non-religious people in the then 25-member European Union. Historically, however, Estonia used to be a stronghold of Lutheranism due to its strong links to the Nordic countries.

Less than a third of the population define themselves as believers, of those the majority are Lutheran, whereas the Russian minority is Eastern Orthodox. Ancient equinoctial traditions are held in high regard. Today, about 32% of the population are members of a church or religious group, thereof:

There are also a number of smaller Protestant, Jewish, and Buddhist groups.

CIA snapshot of Estonia

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.

Age structure

Age structure of Estonia from 1970–2009. Data is taken from Statistics Estonia. [1]      Age: 0–14      Age: 15–64      Age: 65+
  • 0–14 years: 14.9% (male 99,748; female 94,051)
  • 15–64 years: 67.5% (male 417,816; female 459,246)
  • 65 years and over: 17.6% (male 75,486; female 153,024) (2009 est.)

Sex ratio

Population pyramid of Estonia (in thousands) from 2009. Data is from January 1, 2009 and taken from Statistics Estonia. [1]
  • at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
  • under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
  • 15–64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
  • 65 years and over: 0.49 male(s)/female
  • total population: 0.84 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Infant mortality rate

  • 7.32 deaths/1,000 live births
  • male: 8.48 deaths/1,000 live births
  • female: 6.08 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

  • total population: 72.82 years
  • male: 67.45 years
  • female: 78.53 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate

  • 1.42 children born/woman (2009)

Detail of ethnic makeup of Estonia

The below table was taken from 2000 census. [7]

Ethnic nationality total 1,370,052
Estonian 930,219
Russian 351,178
Ukrainian 29,012
Byelorussian 17,241
Finnish 11,837
Tatar 2,582
Latvian 2,330
Polish 2,193
Jewish 2,145
Lithuanian 2,116
German 1,870
Armenian 1,444
Azerbaijani 880
Moldavian 645
Mordvinian 562
Romany 542
Chuvash 495
Georgian 430
Karelian 430
Ingrian 358
Swedish 300
Mari 245
Udmurt 241
Bulgarian 204
Hungarian 172
Korean 169
Bashkir 152
Greek 150
Komi 138
US American 133
Uzbek 132
Kazakh 127
Lezgi 121
Ossetian 116
other 1,224
ethnicity unknown 7,919

Table of birth and death rates

Source: Statistics Estonia
Year Births Deaths Birth rate Death rate
1914 26,865 20,882 22.4 17.4
1915 24,680 21,841 20.8 18.4
1916 21,282 25,429 18.4 22.0
1917 18,333 27,336 16.4 24.4
1918 21,659 32,488 19.9 29.9
1919 18,456 28,800 17.3 27.1
1920 19,625 21,363 18.4 20.0
1921 22,067 17,143 20.3 15.8
1922 22,255 18,401 20.2 16.7
1923 22,347 16,630 20.1 15.0
1924 21,441 16,918 19.2 15.2
1925 20,445 16,680 18.3 14.9
1926 19,977 18,047 17.9 16.2
1927 19,705 19,356 17.7 17.3
1928 20,064 17,785 18.0 15.9
1929 19,110 20,178 17.1 18.1
1930 19,471 16,610 17.4 14.9
1931 19,509 18,077 17.4 16.2
1932 19,742 16,641 17.6 14.8
1933 18,208 16,472 16.2 14.7
1934 17,305 15,853 15.4 14.1
1935 17,891 16,864 15.8 14.9
1936 18,222 17,594 16.1 15.6
1937 18,190 16,614 16.1 14.7
1938 18,453 16,496 16.3 14.6
1939 18,475 17,101 16.4 15.2
1940 18,407 19,024 16.8 17.4
1941 19,574 23,702 18.8 22.7
1942 19,242 20,276 18.9 19.9
1943 16,001 18,120 15.9 18.0
1944 15,180 24,700 15.3 24.9
1945 14,968 20,708 17.0 23.6
1946 19,408 19,969 20.9 21.5
1947 22,721 21,492 23.3 22.0
1948 21,777 17,549 21.2 17.1
1949 21,770 16,730 20.3 15.6
1950 20,279 15,817 18.4 14.4
1951 20,730 15,354 18.6 13.7
1952 21,111 15,817 18.7 14.0
1953 20,146 14,420 17.7 12.7
1954 20,909 13,981 18.2 12.2
1955 20,786 13,638 17.9 11.8
1956 19,660 12,748 16.8 10.9
1957 19,509 13,026 16.5 11.0
1958 19,598 12,971 16.4 10.9
1959 19,938 13,130 16.5 10.9
1960 20,187 12,738 16.6 10.5
1961 20,230 13,036 16.5 10.6
1962 19,959 13,495 16.1 10.9
1963 19,275 13,251 15.3 10.5
1964 19,629 12,754 15.4 10.0
1965 18,909 13,520 14.6 10.5
1966 18,629 13,800 14.3 10.6
1967 18,671 13,699 14.2 10.4
1968 19,782 14,225 14.9 10.7
1969 20,781 15,150 15.5 11.3
1970 21,552 15,186 15.8 11.2
1971 22,118 15,038 16.1 10.9
1972 21,757 15,520 15.6 11.1
1973 21,239 15,573 15.1 11.1
1974 21,461 15,393 15.1 10.9
1975 21,360 16,572 14.9 11.6
1976 21,801 17,351 15.1 12.0
1977 21,977 17,094 15.2 11.8
1978 21,842 17,812 15.0 12.2
1979 21,879 18,062 14.9 12.3
1980 22,204 18,199 15.0 12.3
1981 22,937 18,349 15.4 12.3
1982 23,128 17,893 15.4 11.9
1983 24,155 18,190 16.0 12.1
1984 24,234 19,086 16.0 12.6
1985 23,630 19,343 15.5 12.7
1986 24,106 17,986 15.7 11.7
1987 25,086 18,279 16.2 11.8
1988 25,060 18,551 16.0 11.9
1989 24,318 18,536 15.5 11.8
1990 22,304 19,531 14.2 12.4
1991 19,413 19,715 12.4 12.6
1992 18,038 20,126 11.8 13.1
1993 15,253 21,286 10.2 14.2
1994 14,176 22,212 9.7 15.2
1995 13,509 20,828 9.4 14.5
1996 13,242 19,020 9.4 13.4
1997 12,577 18,572 9.0 13.3
1998 12,167 19,445 8.8 14.0
1999 12,425 18,447 9.0 13.4
2000 13,067 18,403 9.5 13.4
2001 12,632 18,516 9.3 13.6
2002 13,001 18,355 9.6 13.5
2003 13,036 18,152 9.6 13.4
2004 13,992 17,685 10.4 13.1
2005 14,350 17,316 10.7 12.9
2006 14,819 17,435 11.0 13.0
2007 15,741 17,548 11.8 13.0
2008 16,028 16,675 12.0 12.4

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Population by sex and age group, 1 January". Statistics Estonia. 2009-04-22. http://pub.stat.ee/px-web.2001/Dialog/varval.asp?ma=PO021&ti=POPULATION+BY+SEX+AND+AGE+GROUP%2C+1+JANUARY&path=../I_Databas/Population/01Population_indicators_and_composition/04Population_figure_and_composition/&lang=1. Retrieved 2009-09-30.  
  2. ^ a b "Population: Estonia (historical data)". NationMaster. http://www.nationmaster.com/time.php?stat=peo_pop-people-population&country=en-estonia. Retrieved 2009-09-23.  
  3. ^ a b "Births, deaths and natural increase". Statistics Estonia. 2009-05-12. http://pub.stat.ee/px-web.2001/Dialog/varval.asp?ma=PO030&ti=BIRTHS%2C+DEATHS+AND+NATURAL+INCREASE&path=../I_Databas/Population/01Population_indicators_and_composition/02Main_demographic_indicators/&lang=1. Retrieved 2009-09-30.  
  4. ^ Eesti Statistika aastaraamat. 2009. Statistical yearbook of Estonia. Statistics Estonia. 2009-07-31. ISBN 9789985744529. http://www.stat.ee/file.php?36947.  
  5. ^ (in Estonian and English) (PDF) 2000. Aasta rahva ja eluruumide loendus (Population and Housing Census). 2. Statistikaamet (Statistical Office of Estonia). 2001. ISBN 9985-74-202-8. http://www.stat.ee/dokumendid/26495. Retrieved 2009-09-23.  
  6. ^ "Migration by administrative unit/type of settlement, sex and type of migration". Statistics Estonia. 2009-09-28. http://pub.stat.ee/px-web.2001/Dialog/varval.asp?ma=POR01&ti=MIGRATION+BY+ADMINISTRATIVE+UNIT%2FTYPE+OF+SETTLEMENT%2C+SEX+AND+TYPE+OF+MIGRATION&path=../I_Databas/Population/03Vital_events/14Migration/&lang=1. Retrieved 2009-09-30.  
  7. ^ a b c "Population by sex, ethnic nationality and county, 1 January". Statistics Estonia. 2008-10-17. http://pub.stat.ee/px-web.2001/Dialog/varval.asp?ma=PO0222&ti=POPULATION+BY+SEX%2C+ETHNIC+NATIONALITY+AND+COUNTY%2C+1+JANUARY&path=../I_Databas/Population/01Population_indicators_and_composition/04Population_figure_and_composition/&lang=1. Retrieved 2009-10-05.  
  8. ^ a b (in Estonian and English) (PDF) Eesti rahvastik rahvaloenduste andmetel (Population of Estonia by population censuses). 2. Eesti Statistikaamet (Statistical Office of Estonia). 1996. ISBN 9985-826-44-2. http://www.stat.ee/dokumendid/26380. Retrieved 2009-10-05.  
  9. ^ "Eurobarometer on Social Values, Science and technology 2005" (PDF). p. 11. http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_225_report_en.pdf. Retrieved 2007-05-05.  

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