DEFINITIONS

Administrative unit – a unit based on administrative division, the name, type and boundaries of which are determined by law and other legislation, and in the territory of which state or local government administration is carried out. The administrative units of the territory of Estonia are counties, rural municipalities and cities.

Age – the age of the person concerned in full years at the end of the observed period, i.e. the age on last birthday.

City settlement region – a settlement where most inhabitants live in regions where population density is greater than 1,000 inhabitants per km2 and the population figure in a cluster of this density is greater than 5,000. Grid map data have been used for determining regions based on population density and figure.

Emigration – the action by which a person deregisters his or her place of residence from an administrative unit, settlement unit or settlement region of the beginning of the year.

External migrationchange of place of residence across the border of Estonia.

Immigration – the action by which a person registers his or her place of residence in an administrative unit, settlement unit or settlement region other than the one at the beginning of the year.

Internal migration – changes of residence from one administrative unit, settlement unit or settlement region to another within Estonia. A change of residence from one administrative or settlement unit to another within the same county is called intra-county migration, and a change of residence from one county to another is called inter-county migration.

Migration – change of place of residence from one unit to another. In migration, a distinction is made between moves from one country to another, one county to another, across borders of urban settlements within municipality and across borders of settlement regions.

Net migration – difference in the number of immigration and emigration events.

Place of residence – the area or settlement in which the person resides according to his/her statement or according to the Population Register (depending on the methodology of the survey).

Rural settlement region – a settlement where population density is lower than 200 inhabitants per km2 or a region with higher population density where the population figure is under 5,000.

Settlement region – division of settlement units into city, town and rural settlement regions.

Settlement unit – rural municipalities and cities are divided into settlement units. Settlement units are settlements which are cities, villages, towns and small towns.

Town settlement region – a settlement where most inhabitants live in regions where population density is 200–1,000 inhabitants per km2 and the population figure in a cluster of this density is greater than 5,000, but it does not constitute a city settlement region. Grid map data have been used for determining regions based on population density and figure.

METHODOLOGY

Migration statistics are based on the data of the Population Register and the Register of Residence and Work Permits. The places of residence of all persons at the beginning and at the end of the year are obtained from the Population Register. In the case of births, if possible, the mother’s place of residence recorded in the Population register is used as the child’s place of residence. In the case of external migration, the main data source for the prior or future country of residence is also the Population Register; if such information is missing from the Population Register, the data of the Register of Residence and Work Permits is used.

The 2000 Census showed that the registration of migration was incomplete. It was mainly caused by a voluntary registration of the place of residence from the beginning of the 1990s up to 2005. Since 2006, the quality of migration data has improved. Due to the improved quality of migration data, short-term migration has been removed from data starting from 2008 (in immigration, the persons who left Estonia after they had lived here for less than a year; and in emigration, the persons who moved back to Estonia after they had lived abroad for less than a year). In internal migration in 2000–2012, the places of departure and destination depended on changes of residence in the Population Register. Starting from 2013, the prior place of residence in migration statistics events could also be the place of residence recorded at the time of Census if the person had not changed the place of residence following the Census. If it becomes clear that the new and the prior place of residence are located in different administrative units, a migration event is created for the person.

In 2000–2016, internal migration was a definite event that happened when the change of place of residence took place across the border of a municipality or an urban settlement within it (city or town). Internal migration events were summed on higher hierarchy levels. For example, intra-county migration consisted of events both within the county and between counties.

Since 2015, migration is calculated using the rules for determining permanent residents (the residency index). More information on the residency index is available at: Implementation of the residency index in demographic statistics.

Calculating external migration

An immigration event occurs if a person's residency index is 0 at the beginning of the year and obtains the value 1 by the end of the year and it is not a birth event. An emigration event occurs if a person's residency index which at the beginning the year was 1 obtains the value 0 by the end of the year and it is not a death event.

In the case of immigration, it is also important to determine a person's place of residence in Estonia. If a person has not officially registered a migration event, his/her previous place of residence (based on the Population Register or census data) can be recorded as his/her place of residence. If a person does not have a registered place of residence at the beginning or end of the year of migration, he/she will be put on hold (so to say) for a year. This means that he/she will not be included among residents that year (he/she is not considered a permanent resident). If, in the following year, his/her residency index is once again 1, then the person is considered a permanent resident with an unknown place of residence. The new methodology does not require having information on the migrants’ previous country of residence: the country of origin can be unknown.

Calculating internal migration

Since persons who have been included among residents based on the index are assigned a place of residence in Estonia, the new methodology enables calculating the population figure for each municipality, city and county. As of 2016, the place of residence is determined preferably based on the place of residence (if the person has one) officially registered in the Population Register. If these data are missing, the place of residence recorded in the census will be used (for children – the mother’s place of residence), but if these are also missing, the person’s place of residence will be marked as “unknown”.

Starting from 2017, internal migration covers five types of migration.

·        Changes of place of residence across the border of a NUTS 3 unit

Internal migration is shown in the tables only as movement across the border of the specific unit. For example, Estonia’s total internal migration is zero; the internal migration of a city settlement region is all immigrations and emigrations between town and rural settlement regions to city settlement regions; the internal migration of Harju county is changes of place of residence within Estonia across the border of Harju county etc. up to changes of place or residence across the border of an urban settlement within a municipality.

CLASSIFICATIONS

Classification of Estonian administrative units and settlements (EHAK)

Until 1999, the administrative division, on which the population location and population events by territorial distribution was based, was almost the same as during the 1989 Census, except in case of Ida-Viru county. The distribution of the population and vital events by urban and rural areas observed the administrative division. Urban areas included all cities and towns and rural areas included rural municipalities. This method ensured comparability of data with previous years.

Since 1996, some towns and cities have been merged with neighbouring rural municipalities. Therefore, it is not possible to present the time-series of the data concerning population location and population events by territorial distribution by the current administrative division. Instead of the distribution of population and population events by urban and rural areas, the distribution into urban and rural settlements is therefore presented. Urban settlements include cities, cities without municipal status and towns; rural settlements include small towns and villages.

EHAK is available on the web site of Statistics Estonia under the heading List of Classifications at http://www.stat.ee/metadata. Information on changes in administrative and settlement units are in the file Changes (pdf).

Statistical Classification of Regional Units of Estonia (EPS)

The groups of counties at level 3 of the Statistical Classification of Regional Units of Estonia are divided as follows:

EE001

Northern Estonia

Harju County

EE004

Western Estonia

Hiiu, Lääne, Pärnu and Saare Counties

EE006

Central Estonia

Järva, Lääne-Viru and Rapla Counties

EE007

Northeastern Estonia

Ida-Viru County

EE008

Southern Estonia

Jõgeva, Põlva, Tartu, Valga, Viljandi and Võru Counties

MORE DATA

Ränne üleminekuaja Eestis

Ränne. 2000–2007. Migration

CONTACT PERSON

Ethel Maasing
Population and Social Statistics Department
Tel +372 625 9277
ethel.maasing@stat.ee

Updated: 19.11.2020