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People's sense of security in Estonia remains high, survey finds

Estonia's population has been growing, due to immigration
Estonia's population has been growing, due to immigration Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The results of a monitoring survey of public opinion conducted in December show no significant changes from the previous survey conducted in September: people's overall satisfaction with their lives has decreased slightly, as has their support for tax changes, but Estonia's membership in NATO and efforts to strengthen its defense capabilities are still regarded as important.

Overall, people's sense of security has not changed: 70 percent of Estonians and people of other nationalities feel comfortable in the country, compared to 72 percent in September. People of different nationalities are more likely than Estonians to believe that Estonia as a state is safe.

NATO membership is favored by 77 percent of the people, up to 79 percent in September. Support for Estonia's membership in the alliance is stable among Estonians, with 92 percent in December falling within the 91-94 percent range seen in recent years. Following the outbreak of war in Ukraine, support for NATO membership increased among people of other nationalities (mainly, the local Russian-speaking population), hitting 53 percent in September 2023. The percentage declined somewhat in December to 48 percent.

The rate of overall satisfaction with life fell from 71 percent in September to 65 percent in December. People's sense of financial security also decreased: among Estonians, 54 percent of respondents felt financially insecure, compared to 42 percent in September, while insecurity among people of other nationalities rose from 55 percent to 67 percent between the two surveys.

In December, trust in the government, parliament and president remained largely unchanged from September: with trust in the government 37 percent, down from 39 percent, in parliament 35 percent, up from 32 percent, and in the president 72 percent, up from 69 percent. Trust in local government has dipped slightly: in May, when this indicator was previously surveyed, 72 percent of respondents said they trusted their local government, but this number had fallen to 65 percent in December.

Support for tax reforms

Whereas 50 percent of the people believed that tax reforms were necessary in May, just 43 percent did in September and 39 percent in December hold that view now. When it comes to tax reforms, people of other nationalities are more negative than Estonians: 74 percent believe the changes are unnecessary, compared to 49 percent of Estonians. People aged 35 to 49, those living in northeastern Estonia, and those experiencing financial difficulties are more pessimistic than the general population in this regard.

Education reform: Transition to teaching in Estonian in all schools

Attitudes toward the transition to Estonian-language education remained positive: 74 percent of all respondents in September and 75 percent in December believed that the transition would provide equal opportunities for all children in Estonia, regardless of mother tongue, to receive a high-quality education in Estonian. However, there are significant disparities across nationalities in this regard: 91 percent of Estonians agreed with the statement, while only 44 percent of other nationalities agreed and 52 percent disagreed with it.

Support for Ukrainian refugees remains as high as ever

The level of public support for accepting Ukrainian refugees has been relatively stable: 60 percent in September and 63 percent in December. Between September and December, support increased somewhat among Estonians, from 66 percent to 72 percent, but remained rather stable among other nationalities, 46 percent in the previous survey and 45 percent in the most recent one.

A total of 61 percent of respondents support military help for Ukraine, 74 percent support humanitarian aid, and 60 percent support Estonia's contribution to the country's reconstruction once the war is over.

Russia's war in Ukraine has 84 percent of public disapproval, 4 percent are not opposed to it, and 12 percent remain undecided, which has not changed since September. Another national divide: 96 percent of Estonians oppose Russia's aggression, compared to 60 percent of other nationalities.

Turu-uuringute AS performed its final monitoring poll of public opinion for 2023 from December 6 to 12. A total of 1,252 Estonian residents over the age of 15 were polled online or by phone.

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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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