Not sure if any of you readers care or noticed, but the number of stateless people in Estonia continues to decrease.
According to the Ministry of the Interior's Population Registry, as of January 2, 2008, there were 112,422 residents with undefined citizenship, or 8.2 percent of the population.
Over the past five years the number of stateless persons has decreased by about a third. In 2003, 12 percent of the population was stateless. In 1992, 32 percent of the population had no citizenship.
One consequence of Estonia's citizenship policy is that 8 percent of the population holds the passport of another state, mostly the Russian Federation, Ukraine, or Finland. Around 84 percent of the population of Estonia holds Estonian citizenship.
Recent efforts to liberalize some of the requirements, such as making the portion of the exam that deals with the constitution available in Russian language, assigning citizenship automatically to newborns that qualify rather than requiring an application by the parents, and allowing more seniors to wave the linguistic requirements of the citizenship test, have not been adopted by the ruling government.
I wonder when and how Estonia will declare itself to be statelessness free. Is it possible they will forget to count some old pensioner living at the end of a hallway in Narva somewhere? I guess anything is possible. The authorities have estimated that Estonia will cross the threshold of having zero stateless residents sometime around 2015.
I am gathering that in combination with free language lessons and school reform, mortality is also playing its role in this process.