Population census to start on December 28 with online survey

Population census starts from December 28.
Population census starts from December 28. Source: Statistikaamet

From December 28 to January 22, an online survey of the population census is taking place in the framework of which, people are asked for additional data to the data registered in the population registry. Only 61,000 randomly selected respondents are required to answer the survey.

The online survey will be made public on December 28 and the survey can be answered until January 22. All respondents will receive the corresponding notice in their emails.

Answering the online survey is optional for most people who receive the email. It's only mandatory for 61,000 randomly selected people. When a person included in the sample is not able to answer the questions by January 22, the census takers will call them or visit them from February 1.

Statistics Estonia's population census project manager Liina Osila said that even though participating in the survey is not mandatory for most Estonians, it would be of big help to the census takers. "I would ask people to answer the questions, because this data is collected for different policy shapers to use in making their decisions," she said on Vikerraadio's morning program "Vikerhommik" on Friday.

A paper notification will be sent to those in the mandatory sample.

A yearly census in the future

In Estonia, the census is taking place on a registry basis for the first time. In Latvia and Lithuania, however it took place for the first time at the beginning of this year.

"For the first time in Estonia, we are conducting a mainly registry-based census, combined with a sample survey. This means that we get most of the data from different registries. Population, sex, age and citizenship. We can add data about the household, living space and family types," Osila said.

The online survey collects additional features that cannot be found in the registries, Osila said. "This information is based on self-confidence, self-esteem. It is based on, for example, which religion someone follows, what is the person's assessment of their health condition, whether they have experienced any restrictions as a result and what their language skills are, or do they know Estonian dialects," Osila said.

Osila said that answering the survey takes five minutes per person. The online survey can be filled in on the census website by identifying yourself with an ID-card, mobile ID or Smart-ID. The online survey can be filled in independently by all residents at least 15 years old.

The registry-based census certainly has its drawbacks, Osila admitted, but all European countries are moving in that direction.

"In the future, the European Union, Eurostat, which coordinates the censuses, stipulates that we will conduct censuses every year, and in order to ensure this capability, we will have to move to a registry-based survey - it is very expensive to conduct surveys. And people's expectations grow in time. We can still see that people do not want the census taker to come to their homes," Osila said.

Osila said that the annual census will likely start in 2025.

Statistics Estonia will gradually publish the collected and analyzed data in June. The data collected in the census are strictly protected, this obligation arises both from the Personal Data Protection Act and the Official Statistics Act.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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