Time left until the start of the population and housing census


The Population and Housing Census 2021 is carried out by combining a register-based and common census.

Register-based component of the census

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.

The register-based component of the census involves using state databases, which hold the information that people have submitted. For using registers, Statistics Estonia has carried out methodological and information technology preparatory work since 2010. To evaluate the register-based method, a pilot survey (in 2014) and two pilot censuses (the first in 2016 and the second in 2019) were carried out. 

Databases used in the register-based census

  • ADS – address data system of the Land Board
  • ARIREG – Commercial Register
  • EHIS – Estonian Education Information System
  • EHR – National Register of Buildings
  • EMPIS – Estonian Unemployment Information System
  • EMSR – Estonian Medical Birth Register
  • e-toimik – e-File system
  • ETR – Register of Residence and Work Permits
  • KIR – Prisoners’ Register
  • KIRST – Health Insurance Information System
  • KMAIS – Identity Documents Database
  • KOPIS – Mandatory Funded Pension Register
  • KR – Land Register
  • KVKR – National Defence Obligation Register
  • MKR – Register of Taxable Persons
  • RAKS – Register of Granting International Protection
  • RETS – Estonian Medical Prescription Centre
  • RR – Population Register
  • SAP – State Personnel and Payroll Database
  • SKAIS – Social Security Information System
  • SPR – Causes of Death Register
  • STAR – Social Services and Benefits Registry
  • TETRIS – Database of Work Ability Assessment and Work Ability Allowance
  • Traffic Register
  • TÖR – Employment Register

Statistics Estonia's approved list of published characteristics with sources can be found here (an unapproved draft document).

Survey component of the census

The purpose of the survey is to collect information on the total population, which is not available in the registers, and evaluate the quality of the partnership index.

The questions concern the following:

  • information on partner (cohabitant, spouse) who lives at the same address;
  • knowledge of foreign languages;
  • knowledge of dialects;
  • religion;
  • existence of an illness or health problem and its impact on daily activities.

For the survey component of the Population and Housing Census, a random sample is selected from addresses. An address-based survey means that all dwellings on a specific territory are visited to enumerate all the people living in these dwellings. This method ensures that as many persons as possible are located. First, people will have the opportunity to respond to an online questionnaire during a specific period. Then, enumerators will receive a list with addresses from where residents did not answer fully to the questionnaire. An address-based survey ensures a higher response rate for face-to-face interviews, as it is not necessary to look for certain people whose addresses might not be known; instead all persons living at a specific address are interviewed.

For the census, the territory of the country is divided into enumeration areas, and a census list is compiled of all known dwellings in an area. Enumerators working in the area must interview all persons living in the area.

Data collection methods of the survey component

  • Online questionnaire available for self-response to anyone (28 December 2021 – 15 January 2022)
  • Phone or face-to-face interviews with persons living at sampled addresses (22 January 2022 – 20 February 2022).

The sample includes approximately 30,000 inhabited dwellings, i.e. around 60,000 persons who are mandated by the law to participate in the population and housing census.

Sampling principles

  • Municipalities with less than 2,500 residents, i.e. small islands – all residents
  • Municipalities with 2,500 to 19,999 residents – 300 inhabited addresses
  • Municipalities with 20,000 to 49,999 residents – 500 inhabited addresses
  • Municipalities with 50,000 to 100,000 residents (incl. Tartu) – 800 inhabited addresses
  • Tallinn – 500 inhabited addresses from each district