No. 30




Rhetoric of Estonian population policy, comparison with Europe

15 December 2014


RiTo No. 30, 2014

  • Mare Ainsaar

    Mare Ainsaar

    Associate Professor in Sociology and Social Policy, University of Tartu

The article compares the population policy attitudes expressed by Estonia and by another 30 European countries.The article defines population policy in a narrower demographic sense. We discuss population policy as a policy that intends to change the population figures through either birth rate or migration. Health policy is left out of the analyses because there is not a single state in Europe that is not working towards reducing mortality.

Ten indicators from the UN Population Policy Database of 2001–2013 serve as a basis for comparison. We compare the consolidated data of national attitudes to the demographic situation in these states. The analysis of national attitudes is based on assessment and policy index. The “assessment” index gives a concise expression to national attitudes vis-à-vis the population situation. The “policy” index summarises the national rhetoric on the need to implement specific policies.

As far as population growth and structure are concerned, Estonia is among the most disadvantaged states in Europe. States that have a more critical assessment of their population situation also support population growth policies more strongly, at least at the level of rhetoric. Over the past ten years, Estonia has been a fairly average European state in supporting population growth policy. Birth rate has been the priority of Estonia’s population policy along with health policy. Estonia lacks any emigration policy and has been cautious in promoting immigration policy for various reasons.

Full article in Estonian