More and more Estonians have found new home and work abroad, but until now the state has lacked accurate data about their number.
For instance, the population registry says that more than 71,000 Estonian citizens are living abroad, with the largest communities in Finland (33,000), Russia (14,000), Sweden (3,300), UK (3,200), Canada (2,800), US (2,800), Germany (2,600) and Australia (1,600).
The actual number is likely to be at least two or three times bigger. For instance, according to Estonian consul-general in Australia, the number of Estonians living in Australia is estimated to be between 6,000 and 10,000 and, including back-packers, about 15,000.
As many as 10,000 Estonians may be living in UK, while the official figure shown by the Estonian population registry is 3,200.
Aho Rebas, representative of the worldwide council of Estonians, who has been compiling statistics of Estonians living abroad for years, estimates that about 200,000 people living outside Estonia consider themselves Estonians and about 125,000 of them have Estonian citizenship.