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Demographics of Estonia

The name "Eesti," or Estonia, is derived from the word "Aestii," the name given by the ancient Germans to the peoples living northeast of the Vistula River. The Roman historian Tacitus in 98 A.D. was the first to mention the "Aestii" people, and early Scandinavians called the land south of the Gulf of Finland "Eistland," and the people "eistr." Estonians belong to the Balto-Finnic group of the Finno-Ugric peoples, as do the Finns and Hungarians. Archaeological research supports the existence of human activity in the region as early as 8,000 BC, but by 3,500 BC the principal ancestors of the Estonians had arrived from the east.

Estonians have strong ties to the Nordic countries today stemming from strong cultural and religious influences gained over centuries during Scandinavian colonization and settlement. This highly literate society places strong emphasis upon education, which is free and compulsory until age 16. The first book in Estonian was printed in 1525.

Written with the Latin alphabet, Estonian is the language of the Estonian people and the official language of the country. One-third of the standard vocabulary is derived from adding suffixes to root words. The oldest known examples of written Estonian originate in 13th century chronicles. During the Soviet era, the Russian language was imposed for official use.

About 20% of population belongs to the following churches registered in Estonia: Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church[?], Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church[?], Estonian Orthodox Church[?] subordinated to the Moscow Patriarchate[?], Baptist Church, Roman Catholic Church and others.

From 1945-89 the percentage of ethnic Estonians in Estonia dropped from 94% to 61%, caused primarily by the Soviet program promoting mass immigration of urban industrial workers from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, as well as by wartime emigration and Stalin's mass deportations and executions.

Population: 1,431,471 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 18% (male 129,204; female 124,269)
15-64 years: 68% (male 466,960; female 503,233)
65 years and over: 14% (male 67,781; female 140,024) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: -0.59% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 8.45 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 13.55 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.79 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.48 male(s)/female
total population: 0.87 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 12.92 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.45 years
male: 63.4 years
female: 75.79 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.19 children born/woman (2000 est.)

noun: Estonian(s)
adjective: Estonian

Ethnic groups: Estonian 65.1%, Russian 28.1%, Ukrainian 2.5%, Byelorussian 1.5%, Finn 1%, other 1.8% (1998)

Religions: Evangelical Lutheran[?], Russian Orthodox, Estonian Orthodox[?], Baptist, Methodist, Seventh-Day Adventist, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Word of Life, Jewish

Languages: Estonian (official), Russian, Ukrainian, English, Finnish, other

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100% (1998 est.)

See also : Estonia

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