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FAQ

  • Why is a census necessary?

    The Population and Housing Census is the only survey that gives a picture of life in Estonia at one moment in time: who live here, where and in what conditions. The census data provide information not only about the population in general but also about families, households and dwellings. These data serve as a basis for planning life in Estonia at the national as well as at municipality level.

    What is the legal basis for asking questions?

    Statistics Estonia conducts the census pursuant to the Official Statistics Act and Regulation (EC) No 763/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council. These acts provide a legal basis for requesting the specified data for the purpose of producing needed statistics.

    Why is the census survey conducted during this difficult time (considering the COVID-19 pandemic)?

    One of the internationally agreed principles of censuses is that they are conducted at a regular interval. The current agreement is that in Europe and most of the world, censuses take place every ten years. The current round of censuses is in 2021. Estonia is organising the census mainly by using register data, which means that people are asked for very little information. Statistics Estonia has assessed various risks, but based on the experience of the previous census when 68% of the population answered online and a public opinion survey that showed general readiness to answer on the web, there is reason to believe that most people will answer the census questionnaire online or by phone. In a trial census at the beginning of 2021, a situation that enumerators cannot do home visits was tested. It was possible to contact people by phone as well as by post to schedule a time for a phone interview. Therefore, it is possible to conduct the census survey without risk to anyone’s health.

    When is the census survey?

    The census survey can be completed online 28 December 2021 – 22 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 during the period 1 February – 28 February 2022.

    What is a census moment?

    The census moment is one of the principles of population censuses. It means that all data must be submitted as at this date, even if the information has changed since then. It is necessary to ensure international comparability of data. The Estonian census moment is at 00:00 on 31 December 2021, and all register data are collected as they are on this date. The census moment does not mean that it is necessary to fill in the census questionnaire or wait for a census taker’s call on that day. It means, for example, that if a child is born at 00:15 on 31 December 2021, he or she will not be covered by this census. Although the census moment is on 31 December 2021, it is possible to respond to the survey already on 28 December. The answers to most of the questions do not depend on the census moment (e.g. one’s ethnic nationality, knowledge of languages or religion do not change in a matter of days). For many people, the holidays are less busy at work or there is time off, so they will hopefully find the time to complete the census survey.

    How is the population census organised?

    Statistics Estonia will mostly use data from state databases 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 (taking 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.

    What does a register-based census mean?

    A register-based census means that the data that have to be gathered in the census are automatically received from state databases where government agencies have collected the data. For example, data on education is available in the Estonian Education Information System, data on occupations in the employment register, data on dwellings in the register of buildings, etc. So when the data are available, people are not asked for it again.

    In organising the 2021 census, Statistics Estonia cooperates with nearly 30 registers. The main registers are, for example, the population register, register of buildings and registers of the Land Board, Tax and Customs Board and Health Insurance Fund. In addition, information from other state databases is used to complement and improve the accuracy of the results.

    Is the census mandatory?

    All persons living in Estonia are enumerated on the basis of registers. In addition, a short questionnaire is used to ask only for the information that is not available in state databases. Participation in the census is mandatory for the around 60,000 residents of the approximately 40,000 inhabited dwellings selected by random sampling. However, all Estonian residents are welcome to respond to the census. Only this information is asked for which there are no data in registers. Answering the questions about religion and health is voluntary for everyone.

    When and where is it possible to see the census results?

    The census results are published gradually 1 June – 15 December 2022. The release calendar is available here. The calendar allows checking the release dates by theme.

     

  • Who can complete the census sample survey?

    Everyone whose permanent place of residence is in the Republic of Estonia is welcome to respond to the e-census, 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, and parents will respond on their behalf. During the second stage of the census, interviewers will collect answers from the residents of randomly selected addresses (approximately 40,000 inhabited dwellings) if they did not answer online.

    How was I included in the survey sample?

    The survey sample was selected randomly. The random sample includes approximately 40,000 addresses across Estonia. It is estimated that around 60,000 persons live at these addresses.

    Why am I not included in the survey sample? Why am I not enumerated?

    The survey sample was selected randomly. If the address of your dwelling was not selected for the sample, it is not mandatory for you to respond to the census. If you wish, you can still answer to the e-census. Everyone’s answers are taken into account. Even the people who are not included in the sample or do not respond to the survey are enumerated, as information is obtained from registers about all residents.

    What is the sample size?

    The random sample includes approximately 40,000 addresses across Estonia. It is estimated that around 60,000 persons live at these addresses. A certain number of addresses from each local municipality have been randomly drawn for the survey sample based on their population number, . Determining the sample size is based on the expectation that the error in indicators would be under 5%. The more people respond to the census, the more accurate are estimates at the local municipality level, but the sample ensures that the error margin of the estimates is under 5%, making the results reliable.

    Why does the survey sample consist of addresses, not persons?

    An address-based sample ensures a higher response rate, because it is not necessary to look for specific people whose whereabouts might not be known. Instead all persons living at specific addresses are surveyed.

    Will my answers be considered if i am not included in the survey sample?

    The answers of all Estonian residents who participate in the e-census are taken into account.

    If I am not included in the survey sample, can I give my answers over the phone or invite an enumerator to my home?

    Enumerators interview only the people living at addresses in the survey sample. If you do not live at one of the sample addresses, you can only answer online.

    How do I know whether my address is in the survey sample and it is mandatory for me and my family members to respond to the census?

    At the end of the year, paper letters informing of mandatory participation will be mailed to the addresses included in the survey sample. For that purpose, make sure that post boxes are empty and labelled by then. We are asking the people who actually live at these addresses to respond to the census. It does not matter whether the resident is the owner of the dwelling or rents it.

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

    If your permanent place of residence is in Estonia, it is mandatory to participate in the census. If your permanent place of residence is in another country, you are not enumerated in Estonia.

    How can people with visual or some other disability respond to the questionnaire?

    The online survey can also be taken by visually disabled people. If a person is not willing to or cannot respond to the e-census, an interviewer will contact the people living at the sample addresses.

    If there is a household member who cannot respond to the census for health reasons, another household member or a legal representative can help with or give the answers to the interviewer. In the e-census, it is not possible to respond for another adult.

    Who are enumerated? If I am not included in the survey sample, will I be left out of the census?

    Information on all Estonian residents will be obtained from registers, so everyone will be counted.

    Will the census survey be conducted also in places such as prisons or nursing homes?

    The census sample does not include institutions with more than 20 residents: nursing homes, prisons, etc. This means that interviewers will not contact the residents of these institutions, but everyone living there can respond to the census questionnaire online.

    Why do both parents have to answer about underage children?

    All adults in a household have to answer the questions on minors, so that we would not miss anyone’s answers. Starting from the age of 15, it is possible to answer for oneself. If both a parent and a child have answered the questions about the child, the answers given by the child are taken into account.

    What are the age restrictions on answering?

    It is possible to answer for oneself starting from the age of 15. Questions about the knowledge of languages are asked about children who are at least three years old and the religion questions about children who are at least 15.

  • 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 Estonian people that is not available in the registers and evaluate the quality of the information compiled in this way. In addition, there are questions about ethnicity and mother tongue, which are recorded in the population register, but in the census questionnaire two answer options can be selected for each. Individuals complete their own questionnaire and personal questionnaires for 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 information.

    • Address of the current place of residence

    As sometimes the address registered in the population register is not where the person actually lives, the place of residence is not prefilled in the questionnaire. Instead, we are asking people to enter the address of their current residence. The address is used in the survey only for data processing, in order to specify the addresses from which all questionnaires were not submitted and where an interviewer should go. Therefore, for a successful census, it is necessary to know where people actually live at the time. Statistics Estonia does not share this information with other organisations. It will also not be used to make any changes in registers.

    • Number of persons living at the same address

    The answer provides information on whether the questionnaires of all residents of this address were submitted online. If the number of residents living at this address is indicated as higher than the number of questionnaires submitted, and the address was included in the survey sample, an interviewer will contact the residents of this sample address to get the answers of the residents who did not yet respond.

    • Information on minors living in household

    In the e-census, all the adults provide answers about all the minors living at the same address as them. The personal data of minors, which are in the population register, do not have to be entered, but it is necessary to mark whether the child lives at the same address as the respondent. If there are more minors living at the address, the respondent should enter their personal data and complete the questionnaire about them.

    • Information on partner (cohabitee, spouse) who lives at the same address

    The reason why there is a question about the existence of a partner who lives at the same address is to evaluate the data compiled on the basis of registers. As data on cohabitation are often unavailable, asking about a partner allows evaluating how well Statistics Estonia has been able to identify cohabiting couples. This is important for publishing the information on how many married and how many cohabiting couples there are in Estonia.

    • E-mail address of an adult member of household

    In the online questionnaire, the e-mail addresses of adult household members are asked so that they could be sent an invitation to participate in the census. An invitation is e-mailed only if one had not been sent previously. Entering e-mail addresses is not mandatory. You can move on without submitting an answer to this question.

    • Information on immigration to Estonia (incl. return migration)

    Migration questions give a great overview of the movement of Estonian people in the last ten years. For example, we will find out to what extent and from what countries people have moved (back) to Estonia. An important aim of the migration questions is to evaluate the quality of register data. The questions on migration give an opportunity to check the accuracy of Estonian migration statistics that are since 2015 based on a calculation formula (residency index) and improve the method if necessary.

    Although a person’s ethnic nationality is recorded in the population register, this census allows for the first time to indicate two nationalities. Researchers and officials want to find out how many people in Estonia consider themselves to have two ethnicities. The census results will provide a reliable basis for designing language, national and integration policies, preparing the relevant development plans and monitoring their implementation. See more: https://rahvaloendus.ee/en/uudised/rahvaloendusel-selgub-kahe-emakeele-ja-kahe-rahvusega-elanike-arv

    • Ethnic nationality

    Although a person’s ethnic nationality is recorded in the population register, this census allows for the first time to indicate two nationalities. Researchers and officials want to find out how many people in Estonia consider themselves to have two ethnicities. The census results will provide a reliable basis for designing language, national and integration policies, preparing the relevant development plans and monitoring their implementation. See more: https://rahvaloendus.ee/en/uudised/rahvaloendusel-selgub-kahe-emakeele-ja-kahe-rahvusega-elanike-arv

    • Knowledge of languages (incl. mother tongue) and dialects

    The question allows to assess people’s knowledge of languages and its change over time. The state will get important geographical information concerning the areas where people with specific language skills live.

    Although information on the mother tongue is in the population register, this census allows for the first time to indicate to native languages. Researchers and officials want to find out how many people in Estonia who consider themselves to have two mother tongues. The census results will provide a reliable basis for designing language, national and integration policies, preparing the relevant development plans and monitoring their implementation. See more: https://rahvaloendus.ee/en/uudised/rahvaloendusel-selgub-kahe-emakeele-ja-kahe-rahvusega-elanike-arv

    Asking about the knowledge of dialects allows determining how actively are local Estonian language forms used and how many people speak these in different areas. A comparison with the results of the previous census shows the situation of dialects over the last ten years. This information gives the state and representatives of various heritage cultures a basis for developing and supporting relevant programmes.

    • Religious affiliation

    The census results provide a comparison basis and an opportunity to identify and observe the long-term trends in people’s religious identities. For example, it is possible to compare whether the attitude of younger people towards religion differs from that of the older generations and what is the distribution of religions in Estonia.

    The census results about religion can be used in different spheres. On the one hand, this information is important for researchers to make projections, conclusions and generalisations about the society. On the other hand, census information is necessary for policy planning. This concerns the civil society, population and culture as well as foreign relations and security policy at the national level.

    • Existence of a long-term illness or health problem and health-related limitations on daily activities

    One of the goals of the census is to find out about Estonian people’s health and how it has changed over the last ten years. As census is the largest survey in Estonia, covering a huge number of people, it provides a good picture about whose health is the best and whose is the worst. The results also allow assessing in which regions state and municipal support and services are needed the most. See more: https://rahvaloendus.ee/en/uudised/rahvaloendusel-selgub-kui-haigeks-eesti-elanikud-end-peavad

    The questionnaire developed by Statistics Estonia is available here.

    What is the difference between the two health questions? Why are people who do not have a health problem asked whether they are limited by it every day?

    The purpose of the first question is to find out whether a person has any long-term health problems or illnesses. The second question asks to assess whether a health problem places limitations on his or her everyday activities. Both questions originate from the Minimum European Health Module. The same questions were asked in the same way in the 2011 census. To make the results comparable with the previous census as well as with other surveys, it is important to apply the same principles in this census survey.

    Some questions are too personal. I do not want to share such information with the state.

    The questions about health status, religious affiliation, knowledge of Estonian dialects and ethnic nationality are voluntary. There is no requirement to answer these questions.

    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 the questions on the knowledge of foreign languages and dialects, religion and limitations due to health problems.

    How much time does it take to answer to the census survey?

    The questionnaire is short and answering takes around five minutes per household member or family member. Each person has to give answers for oneself, because the questions are based on a person’s self-assessment and convictions. Each adult also has to answer about the minors living in the same household, even if the other adults have already answered the questions about the child. Starting from the age of 15, it is possible to answer for oneself.

    Is it possible to change or correct submitted answers?

    If you have finished answering to the questionnaire and submitted your answers, it is not possible to change or correct the answers.

    If several people give answers about a minor, whose answers are considered correct?

    If a minor (at least 15 years old) has answered to the census survey and his/her parents have also responded for him/her, the answers given by the minor are always considered correct.

    If a minor has not completed the questionnaire (he/she is under 15), but several adults have responded for him/her, the answers given by the adult who is listed as the parent in the population register are considered correct. If both parents have responded, the answers given first are considered correct.

  • How can I access the online questionnaire?

    To securely log into the online survey environment https://uuringud.stat.ee, you should use an ID-card, Mobile-ID or Smart-ID. Please note that the survey environment does not support Internet Explorer. Please use other browsers for logging in, such as Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, etc.

    Why can’t I log into the questionnaire with my ID-card / Mobile-ID / Smart-ID?

    The survey environment does not support Internet Explorer. Please use other browsers for logging in, such as Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, etc. Check the validity of the certificates. We recommend to clear the cache, close all browser windows and then try again.

    Can I take a break from the questionnaire and continue later?

    You can stop filling in the questionnaire and continue later. When you leave the computer, we recommend that you close the browser.

    What happens if the session expires?

    If the session expires, log in again. You can continue the questionnaire where you left off. The session expires if there is no activity in the questionnaire for 20 minutes.

    When am I done with the questionnaire?

    The questionnaire is finished, when you have clicked the "Submit answers" button. You will then be directed to the webpage rahvaloendus.ee and you will be asked to close all browser windows by clicking on "x" in the right corner of the screen.

    Can I change my data after I have finished filling in the questionnaire?

    Once you have submitted your data, you cannot re-enter the questionnaire.

    I don’t have an ID-card, Mobile-ID or Smart-ID. Does that meant that I won’t be enumerated?

    All persons are enumerated on the basis of registers. Census takers contact the people who have not responded to the online questionnaire but live at addresses that were selected for the survey sample.

     

  • Are interviewers vaccinated?

    Yes, the interviewers who visit homes to conduct interviews are vaccinated. Please note that at first census takers call people to collect their answers. They only contact the people who live at the sample addresses but who have not completed the online questionnaire. Only when interviewers cannot reach respondents by phone, will they visit their home and leave a message to be contacted. Responding to the census during an at-home interview is the last option, which is used if the COVID-19 epidemiological situation allows. The census takers who conduct face-to-face interviews also take COVID-19 rapid tests weekly, use personal protection equipment during the interview and offer these to respondents as well.

    How were the interviewers chosen? Can I trust them?

    When selecting interviewers, persons with prior interviewing or similar work experience were preferred. In addition, interviewers complete an in-depth multiple-day training, including on the topic of confidentiality of personal data.

    How can I be sure that the person at my door is really a census taker?

    There are several ways to make sure that a person is an interviewer for the census:

    1. A census taker carries proof of employment and a scarf and gloves with the census design. 
    2. In case of doubt, you can call the customer support of Statistics Estonia (+372 625 9300) and refer to the name or ID-number on the badge of employment to check whether someone is a census taker.
    3. An interviewer can also be looked up by name on the website of Statistics Estonia.
    Can I choose a different interviewer (e.g. the interviewer is a neighbour with whom I don’t want to share my responses)?

    Yes, it is possible. You can inform of this either the interviewer who contacts you or the customer support.

  • How is the protection of 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, used only for statistical and scientific purposes and published only in aggregated form, not at the level of individuals. It is also ensured that no-one would be recognizable on the basis of sensitive characteristics. Statistics Estonia does not share people’s data with third parties.

    Can I check my answers/data on the internet?

    After responding to the questionnaire, it is not possible to review your answers. The census results are not published at the level of an individual, but in aggregated form. Register data concerning oneself can be viewed on the website eesti.ee and in the population register. Information about one's home or residential building can be checked in the register of buildings.

    What happens with the census data and what are they used for?

    The data of previous censuses are available in the statistical database of Statistics Estonia at https://andmed.stat.ee/en/stat. The data obtained from the census are widely used for preparing development plans and strategies and for making decisions at different levels. These decisions impact everyone’s daily lives. For example, it is decided where to build roads or kindergartens.

Persons with a visual disability may currently experience problems when filling in the online census questionnaire. We are working to fix the issue. We apologise.