Online exhibition launched highlighting century of Estonian statistics

"100 Years of Estonian Statistics" online exhibit. Source: Statistics Estonia

Statistics Estonia has launched the online exhibition "100 Years of Estonian Statistics," which includes looks into the period of Soviet occupation, when statistics were manipulated, as well as into the cleanup that took place after Estonia regained its independence in 1991. The exhibition is available in Estonian and English.

Conscious and purposeful data collection for the purpose of producing official statistics began in Estonia 101 years ago. The online exhibition "100 Years of Estonian Statistics" closes out Statistics Estonia's centennial year by taking viewers on a journey from the first official data on the population of Estonia to the classified statistics of the Soviet Union and beyond, Statistics Estonia said in a press release on Monday.

It includes 14 stories about the history of Estonia's statistical office, its work and activities, and the creation and development stages of the organization.

During its peak, more than 16,000 people were involved in the organization of the 1922 census. During Stalin's reign, however, it was predicted that statistics would be abandoned and replaced with a socialist political economy, and even right before Estonia regained its independence in 1991, it was impossible to provide a complete picture of the situation of the Estonian economy, as data providers were very resistant to submitting data.

This exhibition, available in both Estonian and English, includes many interesting facts, historical documents and photos, as well as interactive infographics.

"100 Years of Estonian Statistics" was curated by historians Olev Liivik and Hiljar Tammela using archival materials.

"Our goal was to discuss the processes, i.e. the topics and organization of statistics, from the 19th century through the present day, as well as events in the history of statistics, which are primarily censuses," said Liivik, one of the curators of the exhibition.

For the exhibition, the curators chose three censuses, conducted in 1922, 1941 and 1959, to represent different eras and value systems.

"As a researcher of the Soviet period, I have come across statistics of the postwar period quite a bit, which is why the biggest surprises for me were from the Republic of Estonia period," Liivik said. "I was impressed with the high level of Estonian statistics as well as how capable, innovative and knowledgeable the duo of Albert Pullerits as director of the statistical bureau and Anton Tooms as his deputy was."

According to Liivik, the history of Estonian statistics is quite colorful. "It should be studied as if with a microscope, not a telescope, which is unfortunately what happensto the study of many areas and phenomena today," he added.

"100 Years of Estonian Statistics" was designed by Polaar Studio and built by the studio Platvorm.

The exhibition can be viewed online here.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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