Country Listing

Estonia Table of Contents



Size: 45,226 square kilometers (land area 43,200 square kilo-meters), slightly larger than Vermont and New Hampshire combined; includes 1,520 islands in Baltic Sea.

Topography: Mostly low-lying land with many lakes, rivers, and forests. Forest 1.8 million hectares, arable land 926,000 hectares, meadows 252,000 hectares, and pastureland 181,000 hectares. Highest elevation 318 meters.

Climate: Temperate, influenced by Eurasian land mass to east, Baltic Sea to west, and North Atlantic Ocean farther west. Cool summers and mild winters. Rainfall moderate, averaging about 568 millimeters per year.


Population: 1,506,927 (1994 estimate). Population declined in early 1990s because of negative natural growth rates and net out-migration. In 1993 birth rate 10.0 per 1,000 population; death rate 14.0 per 1,000 population. Total fertility rate 2.0 children per woman in 1994. Population density 33.7 persons per square kilometer. Life expectancy 70.0 years in 1994 (65.0 years for males and 75.2 years for females).

Ethnic Groups: According to 1989 census, Estonians 61.5 percent, Russians 30.3 percent, Ukrainians 3.1 percent, Belorussians 1.7 percent, Finns 1.1 percent, and others (including Jews, Tatars, Germans, Latvians, and Poles) 2.3 percent. In 1994 estimates of Estonian and Russian groups 63.9 percent and 29.0 percent, respectively.

Languages: Official language Estonian; Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Finnish, and other languages also used.

Religion: Predominantly Evangelical Lutheran. Other denomi-nations include Orthodox Christian, Old Believer, Methodist, Baptist, Seventh-Day Adventist, Jewish, and Roman Catholic.

Education: Estonian-language schools have twelve years of education (nine in elementary schools and three in secondary schools). Russian-language education lasts eleven years. Education compulsory to ninth grade. In 1993 some 215,000 elementary and secondary school students in 724 schools. About 142,000 students enrolled in Estonian-language schools and 70,000 in Russian-language schools. Individual schools offered instruction in other languages as well. Seventy-seven vocational schools, in which about 26,000 students enrolled. Literacy nearly universal. According to 1989 census results, 99.7 percent of adult population literate.

Health and Welfare: In 1992 thirty-two doctors and ninety-two hospital beds per 10,000 inhabitants, but shortage of auxiliary staff. Retirement pensions very low (about EKR260 per month); other welfare benefits include financial support for invalids, low-income families, and families having three or more children.

Labor Force: 785,500 (August 1994); industry 33 percent, agriculture 12 percent, education and culture 10 percent, construction 10 percent. Services sector, accounting for 44.7 percent of employment, was the most developed in former Soviet Union and is expected to expand.

Data as of January 1995