This year, the European Social Survey focuses on age discrimination and family formation topics

news release no 108

October marked the beginning of the European Social Survey 2018, organised by the University of Tartu and Statistics Estonia. The survey is conducted in 30 European countries and focuses on such topics as age discrimination, family formation and having children. In Estonia, the survey covers 2,000 persons, who are going to be visited by Statistics Estonia’s interviewers.

“At the time when labour force shortage is felt across Europe, more and more young people are outside the labour market, whereas the popularity of working in older age differs greatly by country,” said Mare Ainsaar, a senior research fellow at the University of Tartu and the coordinator of the European Social Survey in Estonia. This situation is the result of legislation, people’s choices and values. Another important topic is the demographic sustainability of European societies. Ms Ainsaar added that in addition to the usual migration topics, this year the survey pays special attention to topics related to having children. “The survey aims to answer the question of how the perception of the role of people of different ages influences actual behaviour and whether this could be changed, i.e. to find out when older people are too young to leave the labour market and when young people are too old to have children”, she explained.

Prior European Social Surveys have shown that social aging happens earlier in Estonia than in many other countries. The perception of age in Estonia was comparable to that in Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Russia and Bulgaria. In Finland, on the other hand, the perceptions were more similar to Western European countries. The contradiction was especially noticeable in the case of old age, whereas there were no differences in understanding what adulthood and middle age meant in Estonia and Finland.

The European Social Survey has been used to collect data on people’s behaviour and attitudes in Estonia since 2004. This year, the University of Tartu cooperates with Statistics Estonia to collect data and the survey is financed from the Estonian research infrastructures project.

At least 2,000 persons are interviewed in Estonia for the European Social Survey. The survey method is face-to-face interviews. The interviewers of Statistics Estonia visit the homes of people sampled for the survey from October until the end of December.

For survey quality and international comparison purposes, it is essential that people who received the survey invitation also participated in the survey. This year, the survey helps to determine how attitudes change and how social organisation affects it.

The survey data are published on the international website of the project in October 2019.

More information about the survey is available at www.ess.ut.ee (in Estonian).

For further information:

For further information about the survey:
Mare Ainsaar
Senior Research Fellow
University of Tartu
Mob. +372 517 8132


For further information about the work of interviewers:
Jana Bruns
Project Manager
Statistics Estonia
Tel. +372 625 9306