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Country Profile of Estonia

Main statistical agency
Main statistical agency name
Statistics Estonia (SE)
Web address
Position in the government
Statistics Estonia (SE) is a government agency at the area of administration of the Ministry of Finance.
Organizational structure and finance
Population and Social Statistics Department
Enterprise Statistics Department
Price and Wages Statistics Department
National, Financial and Environmental Accounts Department
Agricultural Statistics Department
Marketing and Dissemination Department
Data Collection Department
Methodology Department
Information Technology Department
General Department
About 400 employees work in the office.
SE is funded by state revenue, economic activities, and EU structural funds.
Multi-annual or annual work program
For each year, the Government of the Republic shall approve a list of official statistical surveys (starting from 2011 statistical activities), together with a list of data collected and used in conducting statistical surveys, systematized according to the agencies conducting the surveys, except surveys conducted by the Bank of Estonia. Prior to the approval of the said list the Minister of Finance shall submit information relating to the methods used in conducting surveys and reasons for collection and use of sensitive personal data to the Government of the Republic.

Strategy of Statistics Estonia 2008–2011: “From data collector to information service provider.” In order to ensure sustainability, Statistics Estonia has to improve the planning of statistical programme, i.e. to transfer from one-year plan to multi-year plan and maintain and extend the dialogue with regular customers.
Main duties
The main task of Statistics Estonia is to provide the public institutions, business and research spheres, international organisations and individuals with reliable and objective information service on economic, demographic, social and environmental situation and trends in Estonia. For providing the information service, official statistical surveys are conducted. A survey means the whole process necessary for producing statistics of a certain field — data collection, processing and publication of statistics.

Brief history and other relevant background information
Brief history and other relevant background information
The first statistical records about the territory of Estonia date back to the distant past. The Danish Estimation Book (Liber Census Daniae), compiled in the second half of the 13th century, comprises exact data about the agricultural land of North Estonia. During the Czarist period the collection of statistical data was carried out by the Statistical Committee of Estonian Province (Gubernya) that had been founded on 10 May 1863. On the initiative of its secretary Paul Jordan two population censuses were organised in Estonia: in Tallinn in 1871 and in the whole Estonia in 1881. The statistical committee of the province terminated its activity in 1917.

In the Republic of Estonia, the State Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) was established on 1 March 1921. It was headed until the Soviet occupation by Albert Pullerits, and took orders from the Head of the Chancery. Principal questions were discussed by the State Council of Statistics, chaired by the Head of the Chancery and the Director of CBS acting as his deputy. Statistical bureaus worked both in Tallinn and Tartu. Several county governments had their own statistical services. Additionally, there were around one thousand agricultural correspondents.

At the beginning of the Soviet occupation, the State Accounting Board was established at the State Planning Committee with the decree of 25 October 1940 of the Soviet of People's Commissars of the Estonian SSR. Later it was changed into the Central Board of Statistics of the Estonian SSR that was subordinated to the Central Board of Statistics (Statistical Committee) of the USSR.

Until 1990, the then statistical organisation, the State Statistical Committee of the Estonian SSR, was part of the statistical system of the Soviet Union. However, it should be mentioned that thanks to the so-called "perestroika" the role of and control by Moscow had significantly decreased. The dependence on the USSR Statistical Committee was already quite insignificant and a good opportunity lent itself to start to develop the statistical system of independent Estonia. An important milestone was the adoption of the Statistics Law in 1990. This was the first legal act of its kind in the former Soviet Union. In 1990 the State Statistical Committee of the Estonian SSR was renamed the State Statistical Office of the Estonian SSR.

After Estonia regained independence in 1991 the state statistical system had to be shifted from the interests of a planned economy to those of a market economy and had to be reformed to satisfy the needs of Estonia as an independent country. Estonian statistics stepped into a new, transitional period. At the first stage of the transitional period the most important task was to create appropriate conditions and an appropriate infrastructure that would have enabled Estonian statistics to be brought into compliance with the international requirements and those of the European Union better and more effectively.

1992 marked the setting up of the Estonian Statistical Society. The Society aimed at uniting statisticians working in different fields and different places. The Society is mainly engaged in organising scientific conferences, publishing and international communication.

To perform efficiently the tasks assigned there was a thorough administrative restructuring at the Statistical Office in 1993. On 1 September 1993 the Statistical Office of Estonia started to create a modern system of producing statistics according to a specific plan of activities on the basis of a new organisational structure and with the staff chosen by competition. On 1 September 1993 a public statistical library was opened at the Statistical Office to better serve both the users and the employees of the Statistical Office and to satisfy their needs for statistics. A milestone in the activities of the Statistical Office was the year 1995 when on 30 March Eurostat and the statistical offices of the Baltic States signed a common declaration. This opened up new opportunities for the employees of the Statistical Office to participate in Eurostat workshops, seminars, courses and to establish contacts with all the EU MS and Phare countries.

The Government of the Republic approved by the Protocol of the 10 September 1996 session "The main directions of development of the Estonian statistical system". In 1997 the Official Statistics Act was passed. The Statistical Office also participated in drawing up the draft. In 2000 the Official Statistics Act was supplemented by several significant provisions. Among others, the Statistical Office was given the right to directly communicate with all government agencies in issues relating to the conduct of statistical surveys. In 1998 the Population and Housing Census Act was passed, in 2000 - the Agricultural Act.

Since 30 April 2001 users have had access to the public statistical database.

A Population and Housing Census was conducted from 31 March till 9 April 2000. An Agricultural Census was conducted from 15 July to 29 July 2001. It was the first agricultural census in Estonia after 1939.

In the years 2002-2003 work on the preparation of the Accession Agreement to the European Union has been significant.

In 1st of August 2010 a new Official Statistics Act enterd into force.

Legal basis
Legal basis
Official Statistics Act
Entered into force 01.08.2010
RTI, 05.07.2010, 41, 241

Other producers of official statistics
Other producers of official statistics
The Bank of Estonia and state agencies authorised by law may conduct official statistical surveys.

Statistical advisory bodies
Statistical advisory bodies
General Department organises legal work and advising.

Data collection
Most recent population census
31 March 2000
Access to administrative data
For producing official statistics, Statistics Estonia needs to collect data from natural persons as well as economic units (businesses, state and local government institutions, non-profit institutions, sole proprietors, etc.). If possible, Statistics Estonia uses the data collected in the state and other databases, the data created or collected in the course of activities of the state and local government units and legal persons (hereinafter “administrative data“) in case the structure and quality
of the collected data suit for that respect. The Official Statistics Act also provides for the use of administrative data.
Data confidentiality
Agencies conducting official statistical surveys are required to ensure the protection of collected data. Agencies conducting official statistical surveys shall collect and process personal data in accordance with the Personal Data Protection Act and shall register processing of sensitive personal data at the Data Protection Inspectorate pursuant to provisions of the specified Act. Data collected through official statistical surveys may be used only for statistical purposes. Data collected through official statistical surveys shall not be used for control, taxation or any other non-statistical purposes. Agencies conducting official statistical surveys may transmit or disseminate collected data only in a form which precludes the possibility of direct or indirect identification of data subjects. A data subject is directly identifiable on the basis of data if the data include either the name, address, personal identification code or registry code of the data subject. A data subject is indirectly identifiable on the basis of data if, in the absence of characteristics that permit direct identification, the data subject may be identified on the basis of other data. In order to determine whether a data subject is identifiable, all possibilities that a third person may reasonably use to identify such data subject shall be taken into consideration.

As an exception, agencies conducting official statistical surveys may transmit or disseminate data that permit identification of the data subject but only with the written consent of the data subject.

Data that permit direct or indirect identification of a person without the consent of the person may be disseminated to:
1) another producer of official statistics within the respective sphere of competence and
together with a comment on the confidentiality thereof;
2) the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat), to the national
statistical institutes of the Member States of the European Union and participating
Member States of the European System of Central Banks, within their respective spheres
of competence, and, to the extent provided for in the European Union legislation, and
together with a comment on the confidentiality thereof.

Agencies conducting official statistical surveys shall not transmit or disseminate data that are being processed.

Data are deemed to be disseminated as of the moment of making them available for public use by an agency conducting official statistical surveys.

Data dissemination
Release calendar (existence, when and how published)
A Publication timetable with precise dates of releases is posted on the website.

Main publications
Statistical publications provide mainly analytical overviews. The printed publications are Eesti Statistika Kvartalikiri. Quarterly Bulletin of Estonian Statistics, Eesti statistika aastaraamat, Statistical Yearbook of Estonia, analytical publications and pocket-sized reference books.
A detailed listing of all publications is available on the website.
Languages of main publications
Estonian, English.
How are data disseminated (Paper, CD Rom, Website, online databases, databanks)?
All publications are available on the website. Statistical publications can be subscribed to or be bought in the Information Centre.

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