Estimates of the Population of Estonia and the Number of People Who Have Left Estonia
There are several estimates of the population number at the census moment (31 December 2011) of the census of 2011; the difference between the lowest and the highest exceeds 70,000, i.e. 5 per cent of the population.
The highest is the number of population register, which also contains those who have left; the lowest was the census result, which probably involves a certain uncoverage. Several administrative registers are used for estimating the uncoverage rate; it turned out that the uncoverage rate is 2.2 per cent. The rest of the persons who are listed in the population register as permanent residents of Estonia but who were not counted at the census have most probably left Estonia. In the census questionnaire, there was a question about family members who have left the country; more than half of such persons have left without registering it as they were listed in the population register as permanent residents of Estonia. The number of unregistered emigrants was also estimated with the third method, using the data of sampling. The estimates obtained through the three methods were more or less the same and thus it turned out that during the last dozen years 30,000–40,000 people have left Estonia and not registered it.
In conclusion it may be said that the actual number of population in Estonia, taking into account the undercoverage rate of the census, was 2.2 per cent larger at the census moment than it was initially published, i.e. 1,323,000. But the emigration has also been larger than the original estimate; the estimated net emigration during the period between the censuses is 59,000 people, i.e. more than 5000 people per year, and more than half of them have left without registering it.