No. 8

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Children’s Welfare in the Hands of the Riigikogu

  • Aivar Jarne

    Head of the Press Service of the Chancellery of the Riigikogu

Population experts paint a fairly bleak picture when it comes to Estonia. The population pyramid, which should have a wide base since the young make up the largest part of the population, is in fact eroded. The burden of bearing the economy and general weal falls onto the shoulders of people who are in their middle years but approaching pension age. Some relief is provided by 15-19-year-olds, whose fairly sizeable ranks are about to enter the workforce.

Since the 2000 census, the Estonian population has decreased every year by almost 6,000 people. Estonia’s birth rate is negative as there are 15 deaths and only 10 births per 1,000 people. In this year alone, the gap has closed, but deaths still outstrip births.

The necessary replacement rate to maintain the population at present levels has been calculated at 2.1 children for every woman of childbearing age; more is necessary to grow the population. Currently this figure stands at only 1.2.

In order to tackle the population problem, population experts believe that the Western world and every Western country must give thought to how to stimulate the birth rate, increase the meaning of children to families and parents. Emotion-based values by itself will not be enough to counterbalance the time and money spent on raising a child.

Full article in Estonian

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