The interview stage of the census has ended, but data collection from registers continues

Posted on 2 March 2022, 11:50

Monday, 28 February, marked the end of the second stage of the Population and Housing Census where data were collected from people living at the addresses included in the mandatory sample. The survey component of the census has ended, but data collection from registers continues until July, to ensure that all residents of Estonia are counted.

“We are grateful to everyone who spared their valuable time to voluntarily complete the e-questionnaire or to participate in the mandatory survey. You have thereby fulfilled your public duty and helped the state to collect important data,” said Liina Osila, Population and Housing Census project manager. “The population census is the only survey that gives us a snapshot of life in Estonia at a given moment and allows the study of the trends in Estonia over time or compared to other countries. The insights gained from the census are used by local governments and the state to make informed decisions and improve life in Estonia, so everyone’s contribution matters. Thank you!”

The data collected during the survey are now being processed, and the register-based census (i.e. collection of data from state registers) is also in progress until July. Statistics Estonia will publish the first census results already in June, with further releases scheduled until the end of the year.

Osila said that this population census was different in terms of methodology and also the general circumstances. “The new methodology, whereby we combine register-based data collection with an e-questionnaire and a mandatory random sample, was quite a challenge for us. We had to be flexible and adapt quickly both in the preparatory stage and during the survey stage. Due to the pandemic, we were not able to make the traditional home visits. Also, the society was grappling with an energy crisis, price hikes as well as a security crisis, all happening at the same time as the population census,” said Osila.

The project manager added that the crisis situation was partially the reason why a number of people were unwilling to provide their data over the phone. “All things considered, the interview stage of the census was a success. An important factor is that, for the first time, the population census is based on registers, which helps to minimise the potential impact of various crises on census results. Starting from 2025, data collection with annual register-based population censuses is planned across the European Union,” explained Osila.

Nearly 600,000 persons were enumerated using the online census questionnaire. The sample survey continued in February with phone interviews, to collect responses from people living at the mandatory sample addresses (over 61,000 persons according to estimates). Their answers as well as all completed e-census forms are taken into account, and these data are supplemented with data obtained from about 30 different registers.

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