Population and Housing Census main rehearsal starts at year end

Posted on 15 December 2020, 12:15

On 30 December, Statistics Estonia starts a month-long test survey of the Population and Housing Census to check readiness for the big census. Around 2,000 persons are included in the main rehearsal of the population census.

According to Director General of Statistics Estonia Mart Mägi, an invitation to answer to the test questionnaire is sent to people in eight counties. “For the test questionnaire, we have selected different regions and dwelling types across Estonia. The sample includes apartment buildings, terraced houses, private houses, as well as summer cottages and a care home. On 30 December, a notification letter in three languages is sent out by mail, and if there is an e-mail address in the population register, also a personal e-mail is sent,” said Mägi.


Municipalities included in the Population and Housing Census 2021 test survey


Municipality Number of buildings in test survey Number of dwellings in test survey
Harju county Anija rural municipality 53 buildings 53
Harju county Jõelähtme rural municipality 54 buildings 54
Harju county Tallinn 10 buildings 351
Harju county Viimsi rural municipality 42 buildings 96
Ida-Viru county Narva 11 buildings 70
Jõgeva county Põltsamaa rural municipality 47 buildings 47
Lääne-Viru county Väike-Maarja rural municipality 1 building 3
Rapla county Rapla rural municipality 55 buildings 151
Tartu county Elva 3 buildings 69
Tartu county Tartu 9 buildings 22
Viljandi county Mulgi rural municipality 36 buildings 36
Võru county Võru 19 buildings 48

The test survey is divided into two parts: e-census (30 December 2020 – 15 January 2021) and interview census (20–31 January 2021) where interviewers call the people who did not participate in the e-census or did not fill in the questionnaire correctly. Everyone who receives a notification can answer to the test questionnaire in Statistics Estonia’s electronic environment eSTAT (estat.stat.ee) starting from 00:00 on 30 December. According to Mägi, the expectation of Statistics Estonia is that at least 70% of the participants respond online, as appropriate for an ‘e-state’. “We understand that not everyone has the possibility to do that, and we will contact these people by phone as we are trying to avoid home visits during the coronavirus pandemic,” added Mägi. 

Statistics Estonia obtains the majority of the data necessary for the Population and Housing Census from state databases. People will only have to answer a few questions for which there are no answers in any of the registers. Both, the test survey and the census itself will include questions on the knowledge of foreign languages and dialects, religion and limitations due to health problems. Using register data saves people’s time significantly: an e-questionnaire can be filled in about one person in less than ten minutes. Adults answer the questions about themselves. Parents respond about minors living at the same address.

“The test survey is important for the success of the 2021 population and housing census. Each person participating in the test survey will be able to give feedback to Statistics Estonia, which helps improve the census process before the main census. The main goal is to check the different survey methods and notifying of people, how people understand the questionnaire and how the technology functions,” said Mägi.

All of the data collected from the population and housing census test questionnaire is protected through the application of the principles of statistical confidentiality and personal data protection requirements. To evaluate the register-based part of the census, Statistics Estonia organised two pilot census, the fist in 2016 and the second in 2019. Both pilot censuses confirmed that all of the data obtained from registers correspond to international quality requirements.


For further information:

Kadri Kütt
Media Relations Manager
Marketing and Dissemination Department
Statistics Estonia
Tel +372 625 9181