Participating in census

  • E-census

    Everyone with an Estonian personal identification code and permanent place of residence in the Republic of Estonia is welcome to respond to the e-census from 28 December 2021 to 22 January 2022. This includes persons who are temporarily abroad (up to 12 months). Parents living at the same address with minors can respond about the minors, but from the age of 15 children can respond themselves.

    Submitting census data online is not difficult and takes 5–7 minutes per person. To safely log into the online survey environment, use an ID-card, Mobile-ID or Smart-ID. The questionnaire comes with instructions and you can also ask for help by calling +372 625 9300.

    Once you have logged in, you will see your personal data (given name, surname, ID code and date of birth) and the data of your minor children.

    When exiting the census questionnaire, make sure that you have submitted your answers by clicking on the "Submit answers" button, and then exit the e-census environment. To do that click on the “Exit” button.

    If a person included in the random sample cannot participate in the e-census, an enumerator will contact him or her to schedule a phone call or an appointment to ask the same e-census questions.

    Who can fill in the e-questionnaire?

    The e-census can be completed by everyone who is at least 15 years old and whose permanent place of residence is in Estonia, including persons who are temporarily abroad (for up to 12 months). A person who participates in the census must have an Estonian personal identification code. Parents living at the same address with minors can respond about them, but children who are 15 years old or older can respond themselves.

    Minors living in the household

    Parents who live at the same address as children will answer about the children who are under 15 years of age. Once an adult has filled in their own questionnaire, the data of his or her minor children are displayed. The children's data are pre-filled in the questionnaire: the information is obtained from the population register on the basis of family relationships and rights of custody. Each parent or legal representative of a child(ren) sees information about all his or her minor children.

    A parent should complete the personal questionnaires for only these minors who live at the same address. The questionnaire is not filled in for children who live elsewhere. If there are more minors living at the same address as the parent and their data are not automatically shown, it is possible to add their data. To ensure answers about all residents, all adults should provide answers about themselves as well as about the minors living at the same address as them.

    Children who are at least 15 years old can fill in their own questionnaire. It might happen that a parent or legal representative has also completed the questionnaire on the child's behalf. In this case, the questionnaire completed by the minor is taken into account.

    Staying abroad

    One of the many advantages of the e-census is the possibility to participate in the census even when temporarily staying abroad. Everyone who is temporarily out of Estonia during the e-census period (28 December 2021 – 22 January 2022) can fill in the questionnaire on the internet.

    How to fill in the e-questionnaire?

    When filling in the questionnaire, please consider the information below.

    1. Current place of residence is a person's actual place of residence where he/she spends most of his/her daily rest and sleep time during the period from 1 November 2021 to 31 January 2022.
      1. If you spend most of your daily rest and sleep time in several residences in Estonia, indicate the place of residence that you consider the main residence in Estonia. If there is no preferred main residence, indicate the place of residence where you currently stay or stayed last (if not currently in the place of residence).
      2. If you move during this period, indicate the new residence in Estonia as the place of residence.
      3. If you spend most of this time abroad, indicate the place of residence where you stay in Estonia.
      4. If you are abroad during the entire period, but spent most of you daily rest and sleep time in 2021 in Estonia, indicate the place of residence where you stayed in Estonia.
      5. Children who live alternately in two places (e.g., with separately living parents) are considered as living at the same address as you if they spend the majority of rest and sleep time during this period with you. If a child spends an equal amount of time with both parents, the parent with whom the child lives at the census moment (31 December 2021) should indicate the child as living with him/her.
      6. Students living in dormitories choose the place of residence according to clause 1.
    2. Household members – persons living at the same address.
    3. Partner – a person who is legally married, in a registered partnership or in an unregistered partnership with the observed person.
    4. When entering the number of persons living with a person, use the information provided in section 1.
      1. Adult – a person who is 18 years old by 31 December 2021, i.e. his/her date of birth is before 31 December 2003.
      2. Minor – a person who is not 18 years old by 31 December 2021, i.e. he/she was born on 31 December 2003 or later.
    5. Residence is considered continuous irrespective of short visits (a total of less than 3 months in a year) to Estonia.
      1. Continuous residence outside Estonia shall not include:
        1. employment in a foreign country, if the respondent stays most of vacant days with own household living in Estonia;
        2. studies in general education school (upper secondary school, gymnasium, basic school etc.) if parents’ home was in Estonia;
        3. compulsory military service in the foreign country and participation in a war.
      2. Studies in an institution of higher education or higher vocational school in a foreign country are considered continuous residence outside Estonia.
    6. Ethnicity is determined by the respondent. The person has the right to declare himself or herself a member of the ethnicity group, to which he/she feels the strongest ethnical and cultural affiliation.
    7. A person is deemed to speak the language if his/her language skills enable him/her to manage with speaking, writing and reading in familiar language use situations. If you can express yourself in familiar communication situations, understand clear talk on everyday subjects, understand the general meaning of uncomplicated texts and can write short texts for general use (brief messages, fill out standard documents), the language skills are sufficient to give an affirmative answer to the question. If you lack one skill but another skill is at a higher level compared to the previously described requirements, your answer should still be affirmative. For example, you can consider yourself to speak the language if you
      1. speak the language quite fluently but cannot write in it;
      2. can read specialty or hobby-related literature in a foreign language but cannot speak the language.
    8. Mother tongue is the language, which was learned in early childhood as the first language and in which the person is generally most proficient. The mother tongue and the ethnicity of the person do not have to be the same. The mother tongue of deaf persons may also be sign language. If a person became deaf at a later age, indicate the first language learned as a child.
    9. Local language form or dialect means local language customs that are different from the Estonian literary standard, not foreign languages. Such language customs can be referred to as local language, dialect or subdialect. A person who speaks a local language form is someone who understands and can also express oneself in this language.
    10. Has a religious affiliation – is indicated for a person who feels an affiliation to a religion (denomination). Membership in a church or congregation is not relevant here. It is also irrelevant whether you are baptised, go to church regularly or are a member of some non-Christian association.
    11. "Long-standing" means that illness or health problem has lasted or is likely to last for at least six months. This also includes health problems, from which a person has suffered for a long time, but which have not been diagnosed by a doctor. In addition, long-standing health problems include recurrent health problems (e.g., seasonally exacerbating symptoms, such as allergies), as well as conditions, which are controlled or relieved by regular administration of medication or other treatments. The question does not require specification of the exact nature of the long-standing illness or health problem. This question does not concern temporary or short-term illnesses or health problems occurring during the census. Conditions, such as mild myopia or pregnancy, should not be considered as health problems in this context, even if they last longer than six months.
      The evaluation should be about health in general, not at the particular moment. Both mental and physical health are meant here. For example, a person with a chronic disease or health problem could consider one's health very good.
    12. The question is intended to measure long-term limitations due to health, not financial, cultural or other reasons unrelated to health. Time specification “past six months” refers to the duration of the limitation, not the duration of the underlying health problem.
      “Activities people usually do” refers to working, studying, housekeeping, personal grooming, communicating with other people, recreational activities, etc. In the case of activity limitations, it should be assessed whether the person could or could not perform the activity independently. Do not consider situations such as not washing windows or not doing housework for reasons related to living arrangements (not poor health).
      Activity limitations must have lasted for the past six months. If a health-related activity limitation occurred less than six months ago, the answer should be based on an assessment whether the limitation is likely to last for at least another six months. This means that any temporary limitations, such as an arm cast, should be excluded; however, limitations caused by a need to use a wheelchair due to losing a leg two months ago should be included.
      Daily activities are severely limited if a person cannot perform household tasks independently and requires daily assistance of another person.
      Daily activities are limited but not severely if a person can manage with a technical aid(s) and requires assistance of another person for some activities, but not on a daily basis.
    What will the data be used for?

    The Population and Housing Census will provide a very valuable and detailed data set. The statistics produced on the basis of census data will be used as input for important decisions that affect the whole society and for development strategies and other plans. The provision of correct data is crucial as the data will indicate where a new road or a new school should be built or where a growing need for welfare services may arise, for example. Parts of the data set will be prepared for international use, to allow comparisons between Estonia and other European Union countries. The statistics based on the census data will be published on the website of Statistics Estonia for everyone to read.

    Below, there are a few examples of the potential use of census data.

    Development of life in Estonia – time series

    The census data can be compared with the data of previous censuses, in order to see how life in Estonia has changed, including changes in people’s level of education, distribution of occupations, the composition of households and families, residential buildings and dwellings, and living conditions.

    Reference data for assessing and forecasting population trends

    The census data can be used to calculate important indicators of population trends, such as the average number of children born to a woman, for example.

    Local governments and census data

    As the census is conducted across the country, there will be detailed information available even on the smallest local governments. The primary data on all rural municipalities will be freely available and it will be possible to compare the data on one rural municipality with the data on the neighbouring rural municipalities or with the average values of the county or Estonia as a whole.

    What is asked in the questionnaire?

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

    In the online questionnaire, there is a field to enter the e-mail addresses of other adults living in the same household, so that they could be sent an invitation to participate in the census survey. 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 existing migration statistics.

    • 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:

    • 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:

    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:

  • Phone or face-to-face interview

    A survey where enumerators call or visit homes starts on 1 February 2022 and lasts until 28 February 2022. Enumerators visit only the people who live at addresses selected by random sampling but who have not answered to the online questionnaire.

    How is face-to-face interview organised?

    If all people living at the same address respond to the questionnaire on the internet, an enumerator does not have to contact them.

    If a person has not started, finished or has broken off the questionnaire, the enumerator must contact the person, first by phone. If the enumerator is not successful, he or she has to go to the address and ask only the unanswered questions. Enumerators have a working list of dwelling addresses, which means that they do not add new addresses themselves.