TALLINN - The daily Eesti Paevaleht commissioned a study from Turu-uuringute, where 1,000 Estonians of working age were asked if they have, in the past six months, considered leaving Estonia. Thirty-seven percent answered in the affirmative, reports LETA.
Considering that not all people who consider this actually leave, around 108,000 people could leave Estonia, according to these results.
The majority said that the wish to leave has emerged because of work; and is a lot less related to studies or families. Thus, among around 988,000 Estonian working-age inhabitants, around 365,000 have considered leaving Estonia over the past six months. Nearly 60,000 would like to leave because of studies, 49,000 because of families and 217,000 because of work.
Tartu University human geography lecturer Kristi Anniste has studied the relocation of Estonians to Finland thoroughly and doesn’t see any cause for concern in the results of the study.
“A similar question has been asked from Estonian people in the framework of studies organized by the Social Ministry, where the migration potential of the Estonian working age population was studied. The 2010 poll indicates that 38 percent (26 percent in 2006) considered working abroad; according to the current study, 22 percent of people have considered working abroad,” said Anniste, adding that not all people who consider going abroad actually do so. Earlier studies have shown that a little less than a half of those who intended to go really went.
Thus of around 217,000, around 108,000 people can actually leave Estonia. That would amount to a around 8 percent of the population.
Similar worries are held in Estonia’s southern neighbor. “Latvia has overcome the crisis only in terms of macroeconomic indicators; most residents are not seeing any improvements and are learning languages and trying to leave the country,” Latvian President Andris Berzins said in an interview on Latvian Radio on Feb. 18.
During his recent visit to Ireland, Berzins saw no point in urging local Latvians to return home. Ireland’s gross domestic product per capita is approximately three times higher than in Latvia, and Ireland’s social support system is much better as well. “The figures needed to bring them home are beyond our reach,” explained the president.
The exodus from Estonia can be seen in population studies.
According to Statistics Estonia, almost 25,000 square kilometers (55 percent) of the total area of Estonia is uninhabited while a tenth of the Estonian territory is sparsely populated, with only 1–2 inhabitants per square kilometer.
Population density is the highest in the Lasnamae district of Tallinn city, specifically in the Linnamae-Karberi streets area with 15,800 inhabitants per square kilometer, as shown by the 1 km x 1 km grid map of population density created on the basis of the 2011 Population and Housing Census.
There are more than 15,000 inhabitants per square kilometer also in the Laagna sub-district and Mustamae city district (Vilde-Mustamae tee streets area).
The average population density in Estonia is 30 inhabitants per square kilometer. In the previous census in 2000, the population density was 32 inhabitants per square kilometer.
The average population density in EU countries is 117 inhabitants per square kilometer. Malta is the most densely populated EU country, with 1,316 inhabitants per square kilometer. Compared to Estonia, only Scandinavian countries and Iceland have a lower population density. In Latvia and Lithuania the average population density is 36 and 52 inhabitants per square kilometer, respectively.