Estonian residents who have only a basic school education or lower are twice as likely than their college educated counterparts to have a long-term illness, newly released data from the 2011 Population and Housing Census show.
Among residents aged 20 to 49 who had attained higher education, 12.5 percent reported having an illness or health problem that was long-term, meaning that it lasted or was expected to at least six months, or was recurrent.
The equivalent figure for those with a basic school education or lower was just under 25 percent.
Statistics Estonia characterized the link as causal, saying that "education has an essential impact on the health behavior of the population."
Figures showed that as much as 30 percent of the population has a long-term illness or health problem. Of those, the lion's share - 70 percent - are aged 50 or over.
The statistically healthiest people in the country, unsurprisingly, live in areas with the youngest populations, specifically Harju and Rapla counties where less than one-quarter of people suffer from long-term illnesses.
The highest rates of long-term illness were found in the counties near Lake Peipus – Põlva, Jõgeva and Ida-Viru counties, where they affect 43 percent, 40 percent and 38 percent of the populations, respectively.