Statistical Council gave a recommendation on the organisation of the register-based census

news release no 141

The Statistical Council, formed by the order of the Government of the Republic, convened on 26 November. At the meeting, the results of the second trial census of the population and housing census were presented. The Statistical Council supports the decision of Statistics Estonia to combine the register-based census with sample surveys.


Since 2010, Statistics Estonia has cooperated with researchers and international experts to prepare, in accordance with the official statistical programme, for a transition to a register-based census in 2021. Two trial censuses have been organised to test the census method. The first one was conducted in 2016. The aim of this year’s second trial census was to assess the quality of the mandatory census characteristics and the register-based methodology (suitability of indices; the results of the first and second trial census were compared in order to identify the stability of data sources and population estimations based on the method). Based on the results of the second trial census and identified quality, Statistics Estonia proposed the census method.

The chairman of the Statistical Council Urmas Kaarlep noted that the results of the second trial census are reassuring. “All compiled characteristics are in line with international quality requirements, and it is definitely possible to move forward with the register-based census method,” explained Kaarlep. “At the end of October, the census characteristics were agreed upon in the census committee of the Government of the Republic. The characteristics include those based on the needs of the users of statistics in Estonia, including researchers. All these characteristics cannot be compiled on the basis of registers. Therefore, we support Statistics Estonia’s decision to combine the register-based census with sample surveys,” commented Kaarlep on the proposal of the Statistical Council.

Statistics Estonia will release the results of the second trial census on its website on 3 December.

Population and housing census is a statistical activity approved by the Government of the Republic. Its method and used sources are chosen by Statistics Estonia according to international principles. The Estonian population and housing census will take place in 2021 with the census moment of 31 December 2021.

The duties of the Statistical Council are to advise the producers of official statistics, i.e. Statistics Estonia and Eesti Pank (central Bank of Estonia), as well as the Ministry of Finance. The Statistical Council consists of the representatives of Statistics Estonia, Eesti Pank, the Data Protection Inspectorate, users of statistics and experts. The objective of the Statistical Council is to contribute to the reliability and objectivity of statistics by giving advice on the production of statistics, including on the application of statistical principles and quality criteria.

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