Estonia Home to More Ethnic Groups Than Ever Before ({{commentsTotal}})

Everyone looks the same during Estonia's winters Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Freshly released figures from the 2011 census show that Estonia is now home to 180 ethnicities, 38 more than a decade ago, during the last count.

Statistics Estonia analyst Anu Tõnurist said on the organization's blog today that while in many countries it is considered a form of discrimination to ask a person's ethnicity, Estonian population censuses since the first one back in 1881 have been asking that question, as people are interested in how the nation's ethnic makeup changes.

The largest minority groups are the same as a decade ago, said Tõnurist, with Russians (25.2 percent, down from 25.6 percent in 2000), Ukrainians (1.8 percent, down from 2.1 percent), Byelorussians (1 percent, down from 1.3 percent) and Finns (0.6 percent, down from 0.9 percent) occupying the top positions.

Joining of the European Union in 2004 has opened Estonia's doors to people from Western Europe; an effect has also been seen on numbers of Americans and people from the Middle East.

Since 2000, the number of people from the UK living in Estonia has grown fivefold to over 250, Americans now number around 250, twice as much as 10 years ago.

The number of ethnic Italians now living in Estonia has increased from around 25 to nearly 250, while the French, Spanish and Dutch now number over 100, up from less than 25 ten years ago.

Of the 180 ethnicities represented in Estonia, 142 have fewer than 100 people, and 85 fewer than 10.

According to the census, Estonia has one person of Fijian ethnicity, one Yugoslav, a Kashmiri, a Breton, two Lapps, ten Flams and 23 Livonians, just to name a few groups.

For more details about census results, including ethnic groups (page 43), click on “view publications” on the Statistics Estonia census website.

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