Country Information Database


Estonia Country Information

Flag of Estonia
Map of Estonia
Introduction Estonia
After centuries of Danish, Swedish, German, and Russian rule, Estonia attained independence in 1918. Forcibly incorporated into the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US - it regained its freedom in 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since the last Russian troops left in 1994, Estonia has been free to promote economic and political ties with Western Europe. It joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.
Geography Estonia
Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland, between Latvia and Russia
Geographic coordinates:
59 00 N, 26 00 E
Map references:
total: 45,226 sq km
land: 43,211 sq km
water: 2,015 sq km
note: includes 1,520 islands in the Baltic Sea
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than New Hampshire and Vermont combined
Land boundaries:
total: 633 km
border countries: Latvia 343 km, Russia 290 km
3,794 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: limits fixed in coordination with neighboring states
maritime, wet, moderate winters, cool summers
marshy, lowlands; flat in the north, hilly in the south
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Suur Munamagi 318 m
Natural resources:
oil shale, peat, phosphorite, clay, limestone, sand, dolomite, arable land, sea mud
Land use:
arable land: 12.05%
permanent crops: 0.35%
other: 87.6% (2005)
Irrigated land:
40 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
21.1 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 1.41 cu km/yr (56%/39%/5%)
per capita: 1,060 cu m/yr (2002)
Natural hazards:
sometimes flooding occurs in the spring
Environment - current issues:
air polluted with sulfur dioxide from oil-shale burning power plants in northeast; however, the amount of pollutants emitted to the air have fallen steadily, the emissions of 2000 were 80% less than in 1980; the amount of unpurified wastewater discharged to water bodies in 2000 was one-20th the level of 1980; in connection with the start-up of new water purification plants, the pollution load of wastewater decreased; Estonia has more than 1,400 natural and manmade lakes, the smaller of which in agricultural areas need to be monitored; coastal seawater is polluted in certain locations
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
the mainland terrain is flat, boggy, and partly wooded; offshore lie more than 1,500 islands
People Estonia
1,307,605 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 14.9% (male 100,143/female 94,450)
15-64 years: 67.5% (male 420,896/female 462,072)
65 years and over: 17.6% (male 76,171/female 153,873) (2008 est.)
Median age:
total: 39.6 years
male: 36.2 years
female: 43.2 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.632% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
10.28 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
13.35 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
-3.24 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.5 male(s)/female
total population: 0.84 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 7.45 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 8.62 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.56 years
male: 67.16 years
female: 78.3 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.42 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
7,800 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 200 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
vectorborne disease: tickborne encephalitis (2008)
noun: Estonian(s)
adjective: Estonian
Ethnic groups:
Estonian 67.9%, Russian 25.6%, Ukrainian 2.1%, Belarusian 1.3%, Finn 0.9%, other 2.2% (2000 census)
Evangelical Lutheran 13.6%, Orthodox 12.8%, other Christian (including Methodist, Seventh-Day Adventist, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal) 1.4%, unaffiliated 34.1%, other and unspecified 32%, none 6.1% (2000 census)
Estonian (official) 67.3%, Russian 29.7%, other 2.3%, unknown 0.7% (2000 census)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.8% (2000 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 16 years
male: 15 years
female: 17 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
5.1% of GDP (2004)
Government Estonia
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Estonia
conventional short form: Estonia
local long form: Eesti Vabariik
local short form: Eesti
former: Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic
Government type:
parliamentary republic
name: Tallinn
geographic coordinates: 59 26 N, 24 43 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:
15 counties (maakonnad, singular - maakond): Harjumaa (Tallinn), Hiiumaa (Kardla), Ida-Virumaa (Johvi), Jarvamaa (Paide), Jogevamaa (Jogeva), Laanemaa (Haapsalu), Laane-Virumaa (Rakvere), Parnumaa (Parnu), Polvamaa (Polva), Raplamaa (Rapla), Saaremaa (Kuressaare), Tartumaa (Tartu), Valgamaa (Valga), Viljandimaa (Viljandi), Vorumaa (Voru)
note: counties have the administrative center name following in parentheses
20 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 24 February (1918); note - 24 February 1918 was the date Estonia declared its independence from Soviet Russia; 20 August 1991 was the date it declared its independence from the Soviet Union
adopted 28 June 1992
Legal system:
based on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
18 years of age; universal for all Estonian citizens
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Toomas Hendrik ILVES (since 9 October 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Andrus ANSIP (since 12 April 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister, approved by Parliament
elections: president elected by Parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); if a candidate does not secure two-thirds of the votes after three rounds of balloting in the Parliament, then an electoral assembly (made up of Parliament plus members of local governments) elects the president, choosing between the two candidates with the largest percentage of votes; election last held 23 September 2006 (next to be held in the fall of 2011); prime minister nominated by the president and approved by Parliament
election results: Toomas Hendrik ILVES elected president on 23 September 2006 by a 345-member electoral assembly; ILVES received 174 votes to incumbent Arnold RUUTEL's 162; remaining 9 ballots left blank or invalid
Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament or Riigikogu (101 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 4 March 2007 (next to be held in March 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - Estonian Reform Party 27.8%, Center Party of Estonia 26.1%, Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica 17.9%, Social Democratic Party 10.6%, Estonian Greens 7.1%, Estonian People's Union 7.1%, other 5%; seats by party - Estonian Reform Party 31, Center Party 29, Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica 19, Social Democratic Party 10, Estonian Greens 6, Estonian People's Union 6
Judicial branch:
National Court (chairman appointed by Parliament for life)
Political parties and leaders:
Center Party of Estonia (Keskerakond) [Edgar SAVISAAR]; Estonian Greens (Rohelised) [Marek STRANDBERG]; Estonian People's Union (Rahvaliit) [Villu REILJAN]; Estonian Reform Party (Reformierakond) [Andrus ANSIP]; Estonian United Russian People's Party or EUVRP [Yevgeniy TOMBERG]; Social Democratic Party (formerly People's Party Moodukad or Moderates) [Ivari PADAR]; Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica (Isamaa je Res Publica Liit) [Mart LAAR]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Nochnoy Dozor/Night Watch anti-fascist movement (leader Alexander KOROBOV)
International organization participation:
Australia Group, BA, BIS, CBSS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNITAR, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate partner), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Vaino REINART
chancery: 2131 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 588-0101
FAX: [1] (202) 588-0108
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Stanley Davis PHILLIPS
embassy: Kentmanni 20, 15099 Tallinn
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [372] 668-8100
FAX: [372] 668-8134
Flag description:
pre-1940 flag restored by Supreme Soviet in May 1990 - three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), black, and white
Economy Estonia
Economy - overview:
Estonia, a 2004 European Union entrant, has a modern market-based economy and one of the highest per capita income levels in Central Europe. The economy benefits from strong electronics and telecommunications sectors and strong trade ties with Finland, Sweden, and Germany. The current government has pursued relatively sound fiscal policies, resulting in balanced budgets and low public debt. In 2007, however, a large current account deficit and rising inflation put pressure on Estonia's currency, which is pegged to the euro, highlighting the need for growth in export-generating industries.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$28.69 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$21.28 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
7.1% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$21,800 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 3%
industry: 28.5%
services: 68.5% (2007 est.)
Labor force:
687,000 (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 11%
industry: 20%
services: 69% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate:
4.7% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:
5% (2003)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 27.6% (2003)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
34 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6.6% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
31.9% of GDP (2007 est.)
revenues: $7.854 billion
expenditures: $7.171 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:
3.4% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products:
potatoes, vegetables; livestock and dairy products; fish
engineering, electronics, wood and wood products, textiles; information technology, telecommunications
Industrial production growth rate:
7.7% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:
9.599 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 99.8%
hydro: 0.1%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0.2% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
6.888 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:
1.953 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
345 million kWh (2005)
Oil - production:
6,930 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
29,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:
3,958 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
54,000 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
1.458 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
1.458 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
-$3.771 billion (2007 est.)
$11.08 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities:
machinery and equipment 33%, wood and paper 15%, textiles 14%, food products 8%, furniture 7%, metals, chemical products (2001)
Exports - partners:
Finland 17.9%, Sweden 13.2%, Latvia 11.4%, Russia 8.9%, Lithuania 5.8%, Germany 5.2%, US 4.1% (2007)
$14.75 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment 33.5%, chemical products 11.6%, textiles 10.3%, foodstuffs 9.4%, transportation equipment 8.9% (2001)
Imports - partners:
Finland 15.9%, Germany 12.8%, Sweden 10.1%, Russia 10%, Latvia 7.6%, Lithuania 6.9%, Poland 4.5% (2007)
Economic aid - recipient:
$135.5 million (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$3.27 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external:
$24.82 billion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$16.59 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$5.873 billion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$5.963 billion (2006)
Currency (code):
Estonian kroon (EEK)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
krooni per US dollar - 11.535 (2007), 12.473 (2006), 12.584 (2005), 12.596 (2004), 13.856 (2003)
note: the krooni is pegged to the euro
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Estonia
Telephones - main lines in use:
495,500 (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1.982 million (2007)
Telephone system:
general assessment: foreign investment in the form of joint business ventures greatly improved telephone service; substantial fiber-optic cable systems carry telephone, TV, and radio traffic in the digital mode; Internet services are widely available; schools and libraries are connected to the Internet, a large percentage of the population files income-tax returns online, and online voting was used for the first time in the 2005 local elections
domestic: a wide range of high quality voice, data, and Internet services is available throughout the country
international: country code - 372; fiber-optic cables to Finland, Sweden, Latvia, and Russia provide worldwide packet-switched service; 2 international switches are located in Tallinn (2001)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 98, shortwave 0 (2001)
1.01 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
3 (2001)
605,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
387,336 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
38 (2001)
Internet users:
780,000 (2007)
Transportation Estonia
19 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 12
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 7
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 3 (2007)
1 (2007)
gas 859 km (2007)
total: 968 km
broad gauge: 968 km 1.520 m/1.524-m gauge (2006)
total: 57,016 km
paved: 12,926 km (includes 99 km of expressways)
unpaved: 44,090 km (2005)
320 km (2006)
Merchant marine:
total: 31 ships (1000 GRT or over) 392,177 GRT/97,224 DWT
by type: cargo 7, chemical tanker 1, passenger/cargo 21, petroleum tanker 2
foreign-owned: 4 (Denmark 2, Norway 2)
registered in other countries: 79 (Antigua and Barbuda 20, Belize 6, Cyprus 5, Dominica 6, Finland 2, Latvia 1, Liberia 1, Malta 9, Norway 1, Panama 4, St Kitts and Nevis 3, St Vincent and the Grenadines 17, Sweden 3, Vanuatu 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Kuivastu, Kunda, Muuga, Tallinn, Virtsu
Military Estonia
Military branches:
Estonian Defense Forces: Land Force, Navy, Air Force (Eesti Ohuvagi), Volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit, KL) (2008)
Military service age and obligation:
compulsory military service for men between 19 and 28; conscription lasts 11 months for junior NCOs and reserve platoon leaders; reserve officers and designated specialists have a different conscript service obligation; Estonia has committed to retaining conscription for men up to 2010 and, unlike Latvia and Lithuania, has no plan to transition to a contract armed forces; 17 years of age for volunteers; reserve commitment up to the age of 60 (2006)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 306,273
females age 16-49: 317,852 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 218,448
females age 16-49: 264,187 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 8,322
female: 7,846 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
2% of GDP (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Estonia
Disputes - international:
Russia recalled its signature to the 1996 technical border agreement with Estonia in 2005, rather than concede to Estonia's appending prepared a unilateral declaration referencing Soviet occupation and territorial losses; Russia demands better accommodation of Russian-speaking population in Estonia; Estonian citizen groups continue to press for realignment of the boundary based on the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty that would bring the now divided ethnic Setu people and parts of the Narva region within Estonia; as a member state that forms part of the EU's external border, Estonia must implement the strict Schengen border rules with Russia
Illicit drugs:
growing producer of synthetic drugs; increasingly important transshipment zone for cannabis, cocaine, opiates, and synthetic drugs since joining the European Union and the Schengen Accord; potential money laundering related to organized crime and drug trafficking is a concern, as is possible use of the gambling sector to launder funds; major use of opiates and ecstasy

This page was last updated on 2 October, 2008 Access Time: Thu, 01 Jun 2023 06:17:50 +0000