Nationality, mother tongue and immigration questions added to census

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Statistics Estonia headquarters in Tallinnn. Source: Aili Vahtla/ERR

Questions about nationality, mother tongue and immigration will be included in this year's census.

Liina Osila, the Population and Housing Census project manager at Statistics Estonia, said that information about ethnic nationality and mother tongue is available in the Population Register, but the census questionnaire allows people to choose two answers for either characteristic.

"Researchers and state agencies have expressed a strong interest to use the census to determine how many people in Estonia feel that they belong to two ethnic nationalities and have two first languages. Thinking ahead, it would be useful to collect this information in the Population Register to ensure its continued availability," added Osila.

Statistics Estonia also analyzed the information stored in registers about immigration and return migration to Estonia and about people residing in Estonia but working abroad. The analysis showed that data about immigration still require respondents' input in the coming census.

"In the sample survey, we ask respondents whether they have, after 2011, lived continuously outside of Estonia for at least a year or longer. If the answer is 'Yes', we ask them to specify the year when they last moved to Estonia and also the country where they used to live continuously," explained Osila.

It has been previously agreed that, during the Population and Housing Census, the people of Estonia have to answer a few nationally relevant questions regarding knowledge of languages and dialects, religious adherence, and existence of health problems and their impact on daily activities. There are also questions about current place of residence and partner. All other information that is needed about the people and dwellings in Estonia is obtained using data from nearly 30 different databases.

The short online questionnaire of the population census can be completed by all residents of Estonia. In the second stage of the census, interviewers will collect responses from the addresses in the random sample if there are residents at those addresses whose answers were not already submitted online. In total, the sample includes about 40,000 dwellings and about 60,000 residents living in those dwellings.

The census moment of the Population and Housing Census in Estonia is at 00:00 on 31 December 2021. All data for the population census must be submitted as at the census moment, irrespective of the time and mode of response. The online questionnaire can be completed from 28 December 2021 until 15 January 2022. The persons residing at the sampled addresses will be interviewed over the phone or visited at home between 22 January and 20 February 2022. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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