71 percent of the Estonian population prefer an online census

Posted on 18. November 2021 15:37

Most Estonian residents intend to participate in the Population and Housing Census, which begins at the end of the year. 71% of them prefer completing the census questionnaire online, as revealed by a recent survey of Kantar Emor.

According to Liina Osila, the Population and Housing Census project manager at Statistics Estonia, the share of people who expect an interviewer to come to their home for filling in the census questionnaire has substantially decreased compared to last year. “While last year, 14% of respondents expected a census taker to visit them, this share is now just 5%. In a year, the share of people who prefer online and phone interviews has grown,” said Liina Osila.

According to the survey, the majority of Estonian people, i.e. 71%, wish to complete the census questionnaire online, 18% prefer a phone interview and 5% expect a census take to visit them at home.

“Mainly older people are not ready to fill in an e-questionnaire. The primary reasons are that they do not have internet or a computer or they have poor skills when it comes to using smart devices,” added the census project manager. She invited younger family members or friends to help older people when necessary with filling in the e-questionnaire as well as getting the necessary ID-card passwords or creating a Mobile-ID or Smart-ID.

Survey participants said that it is important to participate in the census, as it leads to more organised data in the registers and ensures faster and more accurate statistics in the future. Another reason that was mentioned was the importance of census data in making decisions concerning everyday life. “The understanding has grown that a census is not organised for its own sake, but the data are used in making decisions that concern everyone’s lives – in planning schools and kindergartens, social benefits or building streets and roads,” listed the project manager. She added that the privacy and safety of personal data is ensured in the census.

Readiness to participate in the upcoming census was mentioned by 82% of Estonian residents. 8% expressed that it was not likely and 1% said that they definitely did not intend to participate. The share of persons who doubted their participation was slightly higher than the average among persons under the age of 35.

The upcoming census is organised to a large extent on the basis of registers. In addition, there is a short questionnaire to complete. Filling in the questionnaire takes around five minutes per person. It only includes questions for which researchers, officials and organisations need information, which is not yet available in the registers. These questions concern, for example, the knowledge of foreign languages and dialects, religious affiliation and restrictions on daily life due to health issues.

The e-questionnaire can be completed starting from 28 December. Currently, we still welcome people to review and correct their data in the population and building registers.

 A quantitative survey among the Estonian population was conducted in October 2021 by Kantar Emor, as commissioned by Statistics Estonia. The target group of the survey were 15-year-old and older permanent residents of Estonia. They were surveyed via online and phone interviews.