Time left until the start of the population and housing census


When does the population census take place?

The census moment is at 00:00 in the early morning of 31 December 2021. The census moment means that all data must be submitted as at this date, even if the information has changed since then. For example, if a child is born into a family on 31 December, data about the child are not collected. The census e-questionnaire is available for answering from 28 December 2021 to 15 January 2022. The people who do not answer online but belong to the survey sample are interviewed by a census taker by phone or during a home visit between 22 January 2022 and 20 February 2022.

How is the population census organised?

Statistics Estonia will mostly use data from state databases, i.e. registers, for the population and housing census taking place at the end of the year. In addition, a sample survey is used to ask for self-assessed information that is not available in the registers. Responding to a short online questionnaire (around 5–7 minutes per person) is mandatory for people living at the addresses included in the random sample of the survey; however, all Estonian residents can respond to the questionnaire. In the second stage of the census, interviewers will collect answers from the random sample addresses if the residents of these addresses did not answer to the online questionnaire.

Who can answer to the e-census?

The e-census, or online questionnaire, is open to respondents whose permanent place of residence is in the Republic of Estonia, including persons who are temporarily abroad (up to 12 months). A person who participates in the census must have an Estonian identity code. Persons under 15 years of age as at the census moment (31 December 2021) cannot log in to the census questionnaire on their own, as parents will respond on their behalf. In the second stage of the census, interviewers will collect answers from people living at addresses selected by random sampling (approximately 30,000 inhabited dwellings), if the residents of these addresses did not answer to the online questionnaire.

What questions are asked in the population census?

In contrast to previous censuses, this time, most of the data are obtained from state databases. The purpose of the sample survey is to collect information on people living in Estonia that is not available in the registers, and evaluate the quality of the partnership index. In addition, there are questions about ethnicity and mother tongue, which are available in the population register, but in the census questionnaire two answer options can be selected for each. Individuals complete their own questionnaire and the personal questionnaires of the minors living in the household at the same address. A minor who is 15 years old or older can also fill in his/her own questionnaire.

The questions concern the following:

  • address of the current place of residence;
  • number of persons living at the same address;
  • information on minors living in household;
  • information on partner (cohabitee, spouse) who lives at the same address;
  • information on immigration to Estonia (incl. return migration);
  • ethnic nationality;
  • knowledge of languages (incl. mother tongue) and dialects;
  • religious affiliation;
  • existence of a long-term illness or health problem and health-related limitations on daily activities.

The questionnaire developed by Statistics Estonia is available here.

How much time does it take to respond to the census questionnaire?

Using data from registers saves a significant amount of time. An e-questionnaire can be answered about one person in less than ten minutes.

How is the protection of my data ensured?

The data collected in the Population and Housing Census are protected according to the principles of statistical confidentiality and personal data protection requirements. The obligation to protect data derives from both the Personal Data Protection Act and laws related to statistics. Strict security requirements have been set for the processing of personal data, and fulfilling these requirements ensures that the data submitted to Statistics Estonia are carefully protected and used only for statistical and scientific purposes.

Do I have to participate in the census?

In the census, a short questionnaire is used to ask only for the information that is not available in state databases. According to the Official Statistics Act, participating in the census is mandatory for the around 60,000 residents of the approximately 30,000 inhabited dwellings selected by random sampling. Everyone else is also welcome to participate and respond to the e-census. Questions about religion and health are voluntary for all.

I live abroad, do I have to participate in the census?

If the permanent place of residence in Estonia, then the person is required to participate in the census. If the permanent place of residence is in another county, the person is not enumerated in Estonia.

Why are these questions asked in the census?

For questions obligatory for all countries, Statistics Estonia obtains answers from state databases. In addition, Estonian researchers need information that is not available in the registers. To meet the needs of the researchers, Statistics Estonia added in the questionnaire questions on the knowledge of foreign languages and dialects, religion and limitations due to health problems