Ten population censuses have been conducted on the territory of Estonia, the first of which was carried out in 1881. During the five generations, Estonians have been ethnic majority in Estonia. During the first Population Census, Germans and Russians were the most numerous ethnic minorities, accounting for correspondingly 5% and 3% of the population (nearly 47,000 and 29,000). During the next Population Census in 1897, the share of Germans had decreased below 4% and the decline continued also during the next censuses. At the same time the share of Russians in population increased and reached its peak during the 1989 Population Census, when Russians accounted for 30% of the population in Estonia.
Estonians, Russians and other ethnic nationalities, 1881–2010
During the 2000 Population Census, representatives of 142 ethnic nationalities were enumerated in Estonia. Five bigger ethnic groups (with more than 10,000 representatives) are Estonians, Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians and Finns. During the previous, 1989 Population Census, the different ethnic nationalities totalled 121. The changes in the ethnic composition of the population in the period between the two censuses may be first and foremost connected with the migration taking place during the 11 years and possible change of self-determination.
Ethnic minorities in Estonia (excl. Russians), 1881–2010
A new overview about ethnic nationalities living in Estonia will be provided after the 2011 Population and Housing Census which will begin at the end of the year. This year the Population Census will be conducted for the eleventh time on the territory of Estonia. Previous censuses were carried out in 1881, 1897, 1922, 1934, 1941, 1959, 1970, 1979, 1989 and 2000. The ethnic nationality was registered already during the first Population Census. If to exclude the 1897 Census encompassing the whole Russia, ethnic nationality has been asked in all Censuses conducted on the territory of Estonia during 130 years.
In Estonia Nations Day will be celebrated on 24 September 2011. In 2011 the events of Nations Day take place in Tallinn, Narva and Jõhvi. More detailed information can be found www.etnoweb.ee