Population and Housing Census will tell how sick Estonian people think they are

Posted on 29 September 2021, 16:59

In the Population and Housing Census, which starts at the end of the year, among else, people will be able to give an assessment of their health. Health questions in the same wording were also included in the census ten years ago, which is why the results will provide an overview of Estonian people’s health and how it has changed in a decade.

The results of the Population and Housing Census show by municipality where people have the best and the worst health. Having an overview of residents’ health in different regions enables the state to better organise the availability of health services and ensure their quality.

According to the Adviser of the Analysis and Statistics Department of the Ministry of Social Affairs Marre Karu, it is important for the state to know which social groups do not benefit from the general development of the country and improvements in the quality of life and health. “We can assume that the health of older persons has improved in ten years. However, census results will make it clear whether this has happened for all people or whether, for example, the health of people of some nationality, age group or education has lagged behind the general development,” said Karu.

Questions about health in the Population and Housing Census sample survey in 2021

  • Do you have any long-term illness or health problem?
  • In the past six months, to what extent have you been limited because of a health problem in some everyday activities that people usually do?

The health information asked for in the census makes it possible to assess the development and bottlenecks of public health and provides a basis for further analysis and policy-making. According to experts, people’s own assessment of their health is one of the most important indicators, because it most directly affects well-being, and it provides an overview of what kind of people cannot fully or actively live their daily lives.

“The information gathered about people who are limited in their everyday activities due to health problems gives an idea of how many people may need help and different services to live a full life. Everyday activities can be, for example, moving around the home and outside, running errands, going to work or school, but also activities such as getting dressed, eating or washing,” explained Karu.

It is possible and necessary for the state and local government to offer people various support services, which enable them to live independently and for as long as possible in their own homes. Even if outside help is required. Certainly not everyone with health-related activity limitations needs state or local government support. At the same time, according to Karu, the knowledge gained from the census helps to assess where the biggest shortcomings are and where more attention should be paid to people with special needs.

For the planning of services and for further analyses, it is also important to know the type of services needed. For example, working-age people with special needs probably need different support and services than older people with special needs. Thus, the data collected in the census also contribute to improving the quality and accessibility of services for people with special needs. “Better services help to improve the living standard and conditions of people with special needs and support relatives who help to care for family members or relatives in need,” emphasised the adviser to the Ministry.

Population with long-term illness or health problem, 2011

882,735 residents do not have a long-term illness or health problem

388,077 residents have a long-term illness or health problem

23,643 residents about whom it is unknown whether they have a long-term illness or health problem

Limitations on everyday activities due to health issues in 2011

910,658 residents’ everyday activities are not limited due to health issues

184,266 residents’ everyday activities are somewhat limited due to health issues
175,419 residents’ everyday activities are significantly limited due to health issues
24,112 residents’ limitations on everyday activities due to health issues are unknown

More information about the results of the health questions in the 2011 Population and Housing Census can be found in the statistical database of Statistics Estonia.