Everyone counts!


When will the Population and Housing Census take place?

The Population and Housing Census will be conducted from 31 December 2011 until 31 March 2012. From 31 Dec 2011 to 31 Jan 2012, the permanent residents of Estonia can fill in questionnaires on the Internet. Those who do not participate in the e-census will be visited by interviewers in the period of 20 Feb to 31 March 2012.

Who will be enumerated?

All persons, irrespective of their ethnicity and citizenship, whose permanent place of residence is in Estonia, will be enumerated during the 2011 Population and Housing Census. Read more.

What is a census moment?

The census moment is a specific date and time, and all the data provided during the census must pertain to this specific moment, regardless of when or how the questions are answered. The census moment of the 2011 Population and Housing Census is at 00:00 in the night between 30 and 31 December.

What questions are asked during the census?

The census questionnaire consists of essential questions about the population and living conditions, and the answers should reflect any changes that have occurred in the past ten years. The questionnaire has three parts: the Dwelling Questionnaire, the Household Questionnaire and the Personal Questionnaire. You can find more information here.

How long does it take to complete the census questionnaire?

It depends on the size of the household, above all. In case of a household with two members, the completion of all questionnaires will take about 40 minutes. The Personal Questionnaire of one person takes about 15 minutes to complete, and less in case of children. In the e-census environment, the time required for completing the questionnaires depends on the Internet connection speed and the number of persons logged into the e-census environment.

How will the security of my data be ensured?

The data collected during the census is protected pursuant to the Official Statistics Act and the Personal Data Protection Act. Both acts prescribe strict security requirements for the processing of personal data. Census data are submitted in eSTAT, the electronic data submission environment of Statistics Estonia, which is accessible only by ID card, mobile ID or Internet bank codes. This means that eSTAT is a secure environment – even if the questionnaires are completed in a public WiFi network, nobody else can see the data transferred from the respondent’s computer to the server. In addition, Statistics Estonia ensures the secure transfer of data from the computers of enumerators to the central repository. Data are stored in the enumerators’ computers in an encrypted format (i.e. converted into a format which can be read only by using a corresponding decryption key) and an encrypted channel is used to send data to the servers of Statistics Estonia. A questionnaire that has been marked as completed can no longer be accessed by the enumerator. The data collected during the census are confidential and Statistics Estonia will not disclose them to third parties or other authorities. The collected data will be processed and used only for statistical purposes.

Is the census mandatory?

Yes, participation in the census is mandatory, like in all developed countries. In Estonia, this obligation is prescribed by subsection 23 (1) of the Official Statistics Act, stipulating that respondents are required to answer all the census questions and give true and complete answers. Answering is only optional in case of questions about religion.

I do not live in the place of residence specified in the Population Register, Where should I be enumerated?

You need to specify the address of your permanent place of residence, i.e. your real home. It does not have to be same as the registered place of residence. Your data in the Population Register will not be changed based on the census.

I live abroad. Do I need to participate in the census in Estonia?

Yes, if your permanent place of residence is in Estonia. If your permanent place of residence is in another country, you will not be enumerated in Estonia. If you are in doubt about your place of residence, please see the guidelines here.

Why are such questions asked in the census?

The census is used to collect data that will provide a thorough overview of the population, dwellings and living conditions in Estonia. The questionnaire has been created in cooperation with the principal users of the data – state agencies, scientists, local governments and companies. The census data are needed to ensure that the development of policies and any important decisions affecting the whole society are based on the latest data on the society’s needs. To get the most accurate data, the census is comprehensive – this means that every single person permanently residing in Estonia as well all the dwellings will be enumerated. Click here to read more.

Why do we need a census if all the data are available in various registers?

Unfortunately, the registers are currently not suitable for census purposes, as many data recorded in the registers are now out of date and some necessary indicators are not covered by registers at all. The data collected in the census is much more detailed than just a person’s place of residence, sex and age. Therefore, the only option is to ask the people directly. For some people, certain fields in the questionnaire may be pre-filled (e.g. legal marital status, country of birth, mother’s, father’s and grandparents’ country of birth; citizenship and mother tongue), based on information in the Population Register, and these details can be modified in necessary. Since the census data will not be submitted to the Population Register, the data in the Register will remain the same and will not be updated using census data. For the next census to be a register-based census, all people should update their data in the registers.

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