This thesis describes the main reasons, indicators and consequences of the structural weakness of the peripheral regions of Estonia. Particular emphasis is put on the localisation of the peripheral regions on the district level as well as the description and analysis of the demographic and socioeconomic conditions in them. The focus of this analysis is on the rural deprivation in the peripheral regions based on the two case study counties, which are Viljandi in the south at the border with Latvia and VÕru in the southeast corner of the country at the border with Latvia and Russia.Massive migration outflows were registered in times of communism, which caused a decrease in functionality of many villages in the rural area. The transformation crisis in the 1990ies had negative effects on the economy, employment and population development. The large collective farms from socialist times were abolished and numerous industries in peripheral rural regions were closed down. Today, most of the peripheral rural districts show very negative demographic und socioeconomic tendencies. Even the demarcation of borders between Russia and Estonia has contributed to the underdevelopment of the peripheral border area in the recent past. Further, a high share of ethnic minorities can be a reason for the structural weakness of peripheral regions, as is the case with the county Ida-Viru at the northeast border with Russia. The common characteristics of the peripheral districts in Estonia were high negative population developments in the period 1970-2015, a lower level in the GDP per capita in 2014 as the nations average and a more negative natural population growth in 2014 in comparison to the central districts. A stronger decline in the population, higher unemployment rates and additionally a higher rate of outward migration in 2014 were characteristics which applied only to some of the peripheral districts.