The first census dataset will be released at the beginning of June

Posted on 1 April 2022, 9:38

In the coming months, the population census continues with the collection and analysis of register data. The first dataset on population composition will be published at the beginning of June.

On 30 March, the Statistical Council discussed the progress of the population census, release of census data, and possible future improvements. Liina Osila, Population and Housing Census project manager, said that the survey stage is now complete but the collection of data from various state registers continues for the next few months.

“The census began at the end of last year and we are now in the stage of collecting and analysing register data. We can already assure that all the people in Estonia will be enumerated using registers. The responses given voluntarily by 600,000 people are also a guarantee of a successful census,” said Osila in her statement to the Statistical Council.

This census differed from previous censuses because respondents did not have to complete a lengthy questionnaire, since the majority of data are obtained from over 30 different registers and databases. This data collection will continue until the end of the year covering a wide range of domains, including the Population Register and the National Register of Buildings, but also the Estonian Education Information System and the Employment Register. “In data processing, the first step is to check whether we have received the necessary data and whether the data are unambiguous. We have also started the compilation of the crucial census characteristics using data from registers,” noted Osila.

According to the census project manager, it is now necessary to analyse what we can learn from the survey stage of the census. “The new methodology adopted for this census – i.e. register-based data collection combined with an e-census and a mandatory random sample – and the feedback we received from people show that we should definitely consider making the transition to fully register-based censuses,” said Osila. “Given the ongoing Covid-19, energy and security crises, there were some respondents in the mandatory sample who were not willing to further share their data with the state. Also, it was assumed that, in our digital society, the necessary data would all be available in registers.”

Osila explained that most of the data for this census are indeed obtained from registers, and it took very little time to answer the additional questions. “The completion of the questionnaire required a minimum amount of time, which encouraged a large number of voluntary responses. The current social developments and security situation clearly indicate that the need for specific data can arise quite suddenly and often, which is why we still support the idea of using registers to collect up-to-date information required by the state. With such a system, the necessary data would be available at any moment.”

Statistics Estonia will publish the first census results at the beginning of June. The first dataset will concern the distribution and age-sex structure of the population as well as citizenship, ethnic nationality and mother tongue. The next release in July will provide data on dwellings. In August, education data will be published. Releases on several other topics are scheduled until the end of the year. The data collected with the sample survey, concerning religious beliefs, self-perceived health and knowledge of languages, will be published in November.

In the first stage of the Population and Housing Census, which began at the end of last year, nearly 600,000 persons voluntarily completed the census questionnaire. It was followed by a sample survey in February when phone interviews were conducted to collect responses from people living at the mandatory sample addresses (over 61,000 persons according to estimates). The information collected with the e-census and sample survey will be supplemented with data from more than 30 different registers.

The Statistical Council, which met on 30 March, includes representatives from various ministries, state institutions, scientific bodies and enterprises, who give advice and monitor the official statistics system.


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