Home - Estonian Institute for Population Studies - News

News

2017

__thumb_-2-1-P1040535 h.JPG             __thumb_-2-1-P1040536 h.JPG

                                Photos Michel Poulain

PhD: Household Status Plays Bigger Role in Mortality than Marital Status

05.06.2017

Today, Anne Herm from the Tallinn University School of Governance, Law and Society  defended successfully her Doctoral Thesis, which focused on the connections between household groups and mortality. The thesis shows that the connection between the household status and mortality is very varied in the older gerenations.

The thesis is based on the population register and census data from Belgium, which allowed access to older generations starting from the 1990s. The data proved valuable, as it offered additional insights into the smallest forms of households in older generations (e.g. cohabitation with a partner).

The thesis showed that the older generations of the population are affected in many ways, sometimes even contrastingly, by the demographic shift and the current trends in the population. “The decrease of mortality is increasing the proportion of old people still living with their spouses. However, the changes in infancy and family patterns (incl. decrease in births and increase in divorce) tend to decrease the probability of sharing households with families,” Herm said.

“The research showed that institutional households, such as foster homes and old people’s homes, held much greater mortality among old people than regular households,” Herm added. When factoring in the health limitations of old people, the proportions balanced somewhat, but are still rather askew. The thesis also confirmed earlier findings by showing that the risk of mortality is lower among old people still living with their spouses.

The author added that the household status is more clearly connected to mortality than marital status. “Research confirms that the differences in mortality are more likely caused by differences in household statuses, not marital statuses. Even though the mortality risk is considerably larger in single people, widow(er)s and divorcees, the differences between single and married people is much smaller. Thus, living alone, whether as a divorcee or a widow(er) does not conceive a larger risk of mortality than living with a spouse,” Herm explained and said that the difference in mortality in different households diminishes as the age of people rises. “Single women in older age groups are much less likely to die when living alone, than those still living with their husbands. People who reach 100, tend to live in household types that are associated with less mortality risk,” she said.

The Doctoral thesis “Living arrangements and mortality of older adults: Evidence from the Belgian population registers at the turn of the 21st century” was defended on 5 June at 16:00 at Tallinn University (M-648, Uus-Sadama 5). The thesis was supervised by Professor Allan Puur from Tallinn University and Michel Poulain, a Senior Researcher of Tallinn University and Professor Emeritus of Louvain Catholic University. The opponents are Professor Emily Grundy from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Senior Lecturer Elinia Einiö from Helsinki University.

The thesis is accessible via the Tallinn University Academic Library E-vault ETERA.


__thumb_-2-inimarengu aruanne.jpg


The main message of the Human Development Report to be introduced today in Riigikogu is that Estonia’s size of population will not be maintained without migration.

Hence, Estonia has to decide whether we want to manage migration in a favourable way for us or merely respond to self-forming immigration.

In the opinion of the authors, Estonia needs a proactive policy on how to solve the fall in the the size of its population, migration issues and integration problems.

The Estonian Cooperation Assembly today introduces the Human Development Report 2016/2017, entitled “Estonia in the Migration Era”. The report produced by Tiit Tammaru, editor-in-chief, Professor of Urban and Population Geography at the University of Tartu and 40 author authors (among them Allan Puur, Luule Sakkeus, Leen Rahnu and Liili Abuladze from Estonian Institute for Population Studies) is concentrated on the influences of new migration era, multi-nationality, cohesion in society, the future existence of the Estonia’s population, and language and culture.

According to the authors of the report, Estonia, along with the rest of the world, is about to step into a new migration era that is characterised by an increase in the migration of people and a change in the essence of migration. The migration that is coming about in the world has one clear characteristic – an inclination towards welfare. In Estonia, the growth of welfare being measured by human development index has been one of the biggest in Europe in the last 25 years; as a result of this, Estonia is becoming attractive for immigrants. At the same time, the interest of employers in the recruitment of external staff has also grown substantially. The authors call the described situation ‘migration reverse’. The circumstance that not all of Estonia’s people, especially residents of peripheries and unskilled blue-collar workers, do not get a sufficient portion of the increase in welfare causes continuous emigration to Finland and other EU Member States. At the same time, immigration has also grown through an increase in general welfare, especially from outside of the European Union. In 2015, for the first time within the last 25 years, the number of arrivals in Estonia surpassed the number of people leaving from Estonia. If the prevalence of emigration and the low birth-rate continue, then, pursuant to the population prognosis of the Human Development Report, Estonia’s population size would be less than 800,000 people by the end of the 21st century. The report reached the conclusion that Estonia’s population size would grow only on the condition that every woman would give birth to at least two children in the next 30 years and about 200,000 immigrants would come to reside in Estonia. In order to reproduce the number of population, it is necessary to contribute to family as well as migration policy. Estonia has become dependent on migration or; in other words, it is not possible to retain today’s population level simply by means of increasing the birth rate. The fostering of immigration is also necessary. The authors of the report propose to prepare the migration strategy in order to work thoroughly through the main migration policy related objectives of the state. The report also reaches the conclusion that the social link between the Estonian-speaking and Russian-speaking communities is still weak. One of the reasons for this is the persistent language-based separated kindergarten and school system that divides children into parallel worlds based on the Estonian and Russian languages. The European experience shows that in a situation where immigrants are over-represented among blue-collar workers and have tended to live tin cheaper urban areas, social problems cannot be avoided if poverty and nationality coincide. The authors are of the opinion that in the present conditions of newly growing immigration, it is time for Estonia to take decisive steps towards connecting language and nation based parallel societies. Kindergarten and school are these institutions by agency of which it would be possible to initiate changes, and this must be done.

A separate chapter in the report deals with modern multi-nationality or the situation where the territories of the countries, places of residence of citizens or activity spaces of people do not overlap in an ever more open world. The same concerns Estonia where mutually closely communicating communities, enterprises and people are located in their homeland as well as abroad. It means that the question of to whom belong the people living in multinational world in sense of political, citizenship, taxation or social security must be solved. How much property should be owned or taxes paid in a homeland, winter home or country of work, to be eligible for example, to the right to vote? Taking into account all the above-said, the authors of the Human Development Report propose to develop a migration and human resources strategy for Estonia.

Read the report in full online in English: https://inimareng.ee/en



27.01.2017 www.researchinestonia.eu/ published article „Sanitary Conditions affect Demographic Modernisation“ (by Marii Kangur) about Hannaliis Jaadla’s thesis “Mortality in the Lutheran Population of Tartu at the end of the 19th Century”. The article can be accessed HERE.



__thumb_-2-P1067304.JPG      __thumb_-2-P1067320.JPG      __thumb_-2-P1067368-001.JPG  Photos Tiina Tambaum

                                                                                                                                    

PhD Thesis Looked into Mortality in 19th Century Estonia

On 6 January, 2017 Hannaliis Jaadla from the School of Governance, Law and Society, defended her Doctoral Thesis on mortality in Estonian cities at the end of the 19th Century (based on the Lutheran population of Tartu). The thesis analysed the variables in the mortality of infants, children and adults, and their coherence with demographic, socioeconomic, cultural and sanitary environment actors.

“The second half of the 19th century was when European states went through big changes in population processes – mortality decreased and the average lifespan of the entire populace grew. The earlier work on these changes has focused on analysing the trends and levels of mortality. There is a significant shortage of research that would look into the difference in the mortality between groups of people,” explained Jaadla. She added that in order to understand the demographic shift, we need to identify which lifespan-growing innovations were the first to take place and what was their influence.

The thesis is based on three separate analyses. The first looks at death in infancy and the actors that influence it. The research compares infant deaths in various populace groups, focusing on demographic, cultural and socioeconomic actors. The research shows that infant deaths varied greatly, depending on their social group. The risk of dying at infancy was increased by the number of older siblings and extramarital births – being born outside of wedlock increased the probability of death three times.

“Oftentimes the central factor in the decrease of infant and child mortality during the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century is seen to be the improvement of the living and sanitary environment, especially the access to clean drinking water,” Jaadla added. This is why her second research continued with infant mortality, but this time it focused on the effect of access to water and sanitary living quarters. The research was based on the unique data collected by the hygiene professor Körber. “Access to clean water was the biggest risk factor in Tartu in the 19th century, but the infant was at risk by many other sanitary factors, as well during their first year of life. This helps us to see that abandoning contaminated natural water bodies might have had a substantial influence on decreasing mortality already decades before implementing piping and water cleaning systems,” she noted.

The third research looked at the socioeconomic and national variables in child and adult mortality. Interestingly, there was no advantage to being a man with higher education, which can be an indication of the difference in the lifestyles of men and women. Contrary to expectations, Baltic Germans did not live longer lives than Estonians.

This is the first research into mortality during the demographic shift that focuses on individuals and links the results to event count data. The results help comprehend the developments of mortality in Estonia during the early stages of the epidemiologic shift.

Hannaliis Jaadla’s thesis “Mortality in the Lutheran Population of Tartu at the end of the 19th Century” was supervised by research professor Allan Puur (Tallinn University) and senior researcher Martin Klesment (Tallinn University). Her opponents were Professor Gunnar Thorvaldsen from the Arctic University of Norway, and lecturer Alice Reid from University of Cambridge. The thesis can be accessed via the TU Academic Library E-vault ETERA.


2016


__thumb_-2-IMG_0253(2).JPG       __thumb_-2-IMG_0257(2).JPG       __thumb_-2-IMG_0266(2).JPG


PhD Thesis: Cohabitation Most Influenced by Cultural Factors

On 6 June 2016, Leen Rahnu from the Tallinn University School of Governance, Law and Society defended her doctoral thesis, which researched the developments of cohabitation within the second half of 20th century in Estonia and Europe. The thesis shows that many important changes have taken place. For example, marriage was in decline, cohabitation became more popular, divorce percentages increased and starting a family was pushed further to adulthood.

Rahnu agreed that the changes are connected to the demographic modernisation of the people.”As cohabitation and divorce were widespread in many Eastern European countries before the regime changed in the 90s, the economic difficulties and rise in insecurity were not enough to explain the change,” she explained. The thesis also emphasised the importance of cultural factors when describing these changes.

A part of the thesis compares the family manners of ethnic and other Estonians. “We saw that in older generations, non-ethnic Estonians used to start living together only after marriage, or at least marry soon after moving in with each other. Now, cohabitation has brought about changes that have spread throughout all ethnic groups,” Rahnu said.

The thesis combines four case studies, which used data from the Generation and Gender Survey (GGS). Until now, theoretical research on cohabitation has been looked at from a Western Europe perspective. This thesis used the experience of Eastern European countries. At the same time, the thesis helps understand the position of Estonia in the context of these developmental changes. “The changes in defining a family should not be seen as a social divergence – we should rather modernise the standing policies to conform more to the current developments. We also received confirmation that learning the native language is vital to the integration process,” added Rahnu.

The Doctoral Thesis titled “Partnership Dynamics in Second Half of the 20th Century: Evidence from Estonia and Other GGS Countries of Europe” was defended on 6 June at 14:00 at Tallinn University. The supervisors were lead researcher Allan Puur and senior researcher Luule Sakkeus from Tallinn University. The opponents are Professor Tiit Tammaru from University of Tartu and researcher Aiva Jasilioniene from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research.

The thesis can be accessed via the TU Academic Library E-vault ETERA.