Definitions

Permanent residence – the (habitable) dwelling with which a person and his or her family members have been most closely associated in the year preceding the census. Association with dwellings is calculated using the residence address(es) reported in various national registers and the locations related to everyday activities (school, kindergarten, workplace, etc.). If a person has a family, all his or her family members have a common permanent residence. If a family member’s place of work is far from his or her residence (in another country or city) and this person has a secondary residence near the workplace, the place of residence of the family is considered to be his or her permanent residence. For this purpose, a family is generally defined as a nuclear family with minor children, which may include adult children, but they may also form separate (incl. one-member) households.

The permanent residence of a single person is considered to be the habitable dwelling with which the person had the strongest connection during the previous year.

See also Households and residences in registers.

Dwelling – conventional dwellings (occupied or vacant), other housing units, and collective living quarters. Each dwelling is the permanent place of residence of at least one person. The sum of occupied conventional dwellings and other housing units represents housing units.

  • Conventional dwellings are structurally separate and independent premises at fixed locations which are designed for permanent human habitation and are, at the reference date,
    • used as a permanent place or residence,
    • vacant, or
    • reserved for seasonal or secondary use.

Separate means surrounded by walls and covered by a roof or ceiling so that one or more persons can isolate themselves.

Independent means having direct access from a street or a staircase, passage, gallery, or grounds.

  • Other housing units are huts, cabins, shacks, shanties, caravans, houseboats, barns, mills, caves, or any other shelter used for human habitation (at the time of the census), irrespective if it was designed for human habitation.
  • Collective living quarters are premises which are designed for habitation by large groups of individuals or several households.

Occupancy status of dwelling – the breakdown of conventional dwellings by occupancy status was as follows:

  • occupied conventional dwelling – a conventional dwelling which is the usual place of residence of one or more persons at the census moment;
  • vacant conventional dwelling – a conventional dwelling that is not the usual place of residence of any person at the census moment.

Area of dwelling – the area or useful floor space of a dwelling is defined as:

  • The floor space measured inside the outer walls excluding non-habitable cellars and attics and, in multi-dwelling buildings, all common spaces; or
  • The total floor space of rooms falling under the concept of roomSee Number of rooms of housing unit.

Comfort characteristics of dwelling – availability of water supply system, bathing facilities, toilet facilities and central heating in the dwelling.

  • Water supply system – a dwelling is considered as having a water supply system if cold water is piped into the dwelling and a water tap is used.
  • Bathing facilities– a dwelling is considered as having bathing facilities if it is equipped with a bath or shower connected to the water supply network and a sewage disposal system (incl. a collection tank). Bathing facilities are also recorded as available if the dwelling includes a sauna (incl. a sauna in a separate building located outside the dwelling on the same plot as the small residential building).
  • Toilet facilities – a dwelling is considered as having toilet facilities if it is equipped with a flush toilet connected to the water supply network and a sewage disposal system (incl. a collection tank).
  • Central heating –a dwelling is considered as centrally heated if heating is provided either from a community heating centre or from an installation built in the building or in the conventional dwelling, without regard to the source of energy.

Mother tongue – the language acquired in early childhood as the first language; usually the language in which the person is most proficient. If the person’s mother tongue was missing, the mother tongue of his or her mother (provided that the father’s mother tongue is the same or unknown) will be noted as mother tongue. In a register-based census, the mother tongue is noted on the basis of data found in the Population Register, Identity Documents Database (KMAIS), the previous census, and the Estonian Education Information System (EHIS), where people themselves have entered their mother tongue.

Age at birth of first child – a woman’s age at the birth of her first child, obtained by subtracting the date of birth of the first child from the date of birth of the mother. A woman's age at the birth of first child is calculated for all women aged 15 and over living in Estonia. 

Building – a construction permanently attached to the ground, with an interior space that is separated from the external environment by the roof and other parts of the building envelope.

Period of construction of building – the year in which the building was completed.

Type of building – residential and non-residential buildings. Residential buildings are divided into the following three categories by the number of flats:

  • residential building with 1 flat (private house) – residential building designed and built for one family which is not divided into isolated parts. Farmhouses and former summer-houses that have been adapted or rebuilt for year-round habitation are included here;
  • residential building with 2 flats;
  • residential building with 3 or more flats.
  • non-residential building – a building in which less than half of the overall useful floor area is used for residential purposes. This includes office buildings, shops, schools, and other buildings with at least one dwelling (flat).

Citizenship – the country of which the person is a national. Citizenship is defined as the particular legal bond between an individual and the State, acquired by birth or naturalisation, whether by declaration, choice, marriage, or other means according to national legislation. In the case of a register-based census, the information on citizenship is taken from the Population Register.

Census moment – the date and the time fixing the data collected by the census. The census moment of the 2021 population and housing census was on 31 December 2021 at 00.00.

Ethnic nationality – in the registered-based census, the person has entered his or her nationality in the Population Register, Estonian Medical Birth Registry (EMSR), Identity Documents Database, or during the previous census. If a child’s ethnic nationality is not indicated in any of the databases, the nationality of the mother will be assigned to the child. Persons had the right to declare themselves as members of the nationality group to which they felt the strongest ethnic and cultural connection. Persons who felt belonging to more than one ethnic nationality chose the one that was most important to them.

Legal marital status – persons aged 15 years and over were divided by (legal) marital status as follows:  

  • Never been legally married – a person who has never been legally married.
  • Legally married – a person whose marriage is legal and has not terminated due to spouse’s death or divorce. A person can also be legally married if he or she does not live with the spouse. Only a marriage between a man and a woman is considered legal in this context.
  • Divorced – a person whose (previous) legal marriage terminated due to registration of divorce and who has not entered into a new legal marriage.
  • Widowed – a person whose (previous) legal marriage terminated due to death of the spouse (incl. being declared dead in court) and who has not entered into a new legal marriage.

Country of birth – the country of (permanent) residence of the mother at the time of the person’s birth. For foreign-born, the country of birth is indicated by the state border at the moment of census. Persons born before 1945 in Pechory county or the former territory of the Republic of Estonia east of the Narva River were considered to be born in Estonia.

Number of children given birth to – the number of live births in a woman’s lifetime. Adopted children are not taken into account here. This characteristic is noted for women of at least 15 years of age.

Built-up locality – a built-up area where the distance between buildings is no more than 200 meters and where there are at least 200 inhabitants. See also Levels of administrative units and spatial data.

Number of rooms of housing unit – a room is defined as a space in a housing unit enclosed by walls reaching from the floor to the ceiling or roof, of a size large enough to hold a bed for an adult (4 m2 at least) and at least 2 meters high over the major area of the ceiling.

Educational attainment –the highest level of education that a person has completed. Highest educational attainment is presented in accordance with the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011), which breaks down levels of education as follows:

  • Basic education or less:

    ..No education, preschool education – a person may have a preschool education or has not completed a level of schooling corresponding to primary education.

    ..Primary education, 6 grades of current basic school, vocational education for persons without basic education. In Estonia, primary education does not lead to a leaving certificate and the first level of education obtained is basic education. Differentiation of primary education is necessary to ensure international comparability. By convention, this level of education is considered to be attained by persons who have not obtained basic education but have completed at least
    • 6 grades in 1930–1944 (including evening primary schools for adults);
    • 4 grades in 1945–1971 or 3 grades in 1972–1989;
    • 6 grades in 1990 or later.
    This group also includes persons with no basic education who have completed vocational education for persons without basic education.

    ..Basic education – a person has not completed a level of schooling corresponding to secondary education but has completed
    • vocational secondary school in 1920–1940 or received basic education in a special school;
    • secondary scientific school or progymnasium that operated until 1940;
    • incomplete secondary school or 7 grades in 1961 or earlier;
    • at least 8 grades in a general education school in 1962–1989;
    • basic school or at least 9 grades in a general education school in 1990 or later.
    ..Vocational basic education and vocational education after basic education – a person has also acquired basic education along with the vocational qualification or has completed vocational training after basic education. The training does not lead to secondary education.
  • Secondary education or vocational education after secondary education:

    ..General secondary education – a person has completed a 10-, 11- or 12-grade upper secondary school or a gymnasium.

    ..Vocational secondary education – a person has received secondary and vocational education in the framework of the same curriculum. This group also includes those who have completed secondary specialised education after basic education.

    ..Vocational education after secondary education – a person has completed vocational education after secondary education (admission requirement: secondary education).
  • Higher education or secondary specialised education after secondary education:

    ..Secondary specialised education after secondary education – a person has graduated from a technical school, commercial school, higher agricultural or horticultural school, nautical school or any other educational institution with a secondary specialized education curriculum (admission requirement: secondary education), which in Estonia admitted students until 01.09.1999.

    ..Bachelor’s or equivalent level, professional higher education – a person has completed
    • higher vocational education (admission in 1999–2002) or diploma study (admission until 2002);
    • professional higher education, i.e. the first stage of higher education during which a student acquires the competences needed to work in a specific profession or to study for a master’s level degree;
    • a bachelor’s programme with a standard study period of 3 years. In Estonia, admission started in 2002.
    ..Master’s or equivalent level – a person has received a master’s degree or equivalent level qualification:
    • integrated studies of 5 to 6 years (incl. engineering studies). Admission to integrated studies since 2002;
    • bachelor’s programme with a standard study period of 4 years. Admission in Estonia in 1992–2001;
    • higher education obtained on the basis of a curriculum valid before 1992, i.e. a person has completed a pre-1992 curriculum of higher education at an institute, academy, university or another educational institution. Such curricula may still be in use on the territory of the former USSR;
    • medical doctor who has completed internship;
    • a person who completed one-year teacher training after bachelor’s study;
    • a medical doctor who has completed residency.
    ..Doctoral or equivalent level – a person has obtained a doctoral level degree. A qualification obtained in the education system of the USSR, certified by a diploma of Candidate of Sciences (Kandidat nauk) or Doctor of Sciences (Doktor nauk), is also considered equivalent to a doctoral level degree.

For more detailed descriptions of educational attainment levels, see chapter 4.2 of the Education Statistics Manual (in Estonian).

Age – person's age has been given in full years as at census moment (31.12.2021). The age of children under 1 year of age is 0 years.


A more detailed description of the methodology for calculating census characteristics is available on the website of Statistics Estonia.