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 the West. It joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004, formally joined the OECD in late 2010, and adopted the euro as its official currency on 1 January 2011.

Estonian Flag

Estonian Flag


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: 45,228 sq km
country comparison to the world: 133
land: 42,388 sq km
water: 2,840 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, rare earth elements, phosphorite, clay, limestone, sand, dolomite, arable land, sea mud

Land use:
arable land: 13.97%
permanent crops: 0.13%
other: 85.89% (2011)

Irrigated land:
4.58 sq km (2010)

Total renewable water resources:
12.81 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 1.8 cu km/yr (3%/97%/0%)
per capita: 1,337 cu m/yr (2009)

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 1/20 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

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People & Society

noun: Estonian(s)
adjective: Estonian

Ethnic groups:
Estonian 68.7%, Russian 24.8%, Ukrainian 1.7%, Belarusian 1%, Finn 0.6%, other 1.6%, unspecified 1.6% (2011 est.)

Estonian (official) 68.5%, Russian 29.6%, Ukrainian 0.6%, other 1.2%, unspecified 0.1% (2011 est.)

Lutheran 9.9%, Orthodox 16.2%, other Christian (including Methodist, Seventh-Day Adventist, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal) 2.2%, other 0.9%, none 54.1%, unspecified 16.7% (2011 est.)

1,257,921 (July 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158

Age structure:
0-14 years: 15.6% (male 101,018/female 95,204)
15-24 years: 11.2% (male 72,318/female 68,373)
25-54 years: 41.5% (male 250,244/female 271,450)
55-64 years: 18.6% (male 71,518/female 94,029)
65 years and over: 18.2% (male 77,492/female 156,275) (2014 est.)

Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 52 %
youth dependency ratio: 24.3 %
elderly dependency ratio: 27.7 %
potential support ratio: 3.6 (2014 est.)

Median age:
total: 41.2 years
male: 37.6 years
female: 44.5 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate:
-0.68% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 228

Birth rate:
10.29 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187

Death rate:
13.69 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13

Net migration rate:
-3.37 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185


urban population: 69.5% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 0.02% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas – population:
TALLINN (capital) 400,000 (2011)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.84 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.49 male(s)/female
total population: 0.84 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Mother’s mean age at first birth:
26.4 (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:
2 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
country comparison to the world: 184

Infant mortality rate:
total: 6.7 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 164
male: 7.81 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.07 years
country comparison to the world: 118
male: 68.85 years
female: 79.61 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.46 children born/woman (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 196

Contraceptive prevalence rate:
note: percent of women aged 18-49 (2005)

Health expenditures:
6% of GDP (2011)
country comparison to the world: 108

Physicians density:
3.34 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density:
5.3 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source:
urban: 99.5% of population
rural: 97.1% of population
total: 98.8% of population
urban: 0.5% of population
rural: 2.9% of population
total: 1.2% of population (2011 est.)

Sanitation facility access:
urban: 99.7% of population
rural: 93.7% of population
total: 97.9% of population
urban: 0.3% of population
rural: 6.3% of population
total: 2.1% of population (2011 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate:
1.2% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS:
9,900 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104

HIV/AIDS – deaths:
fewer than 500 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: intermediate
vectorborne disease: tickborne encephalitis (2013)

Obesity – adult prevalence rate:
20.6% (2008)
country comparison to the world: 95

Education expenditures:
5.7% of GDP (2010)
country comparison to the world: 52

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.8% (2011 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 17 years
male: 16 years
female: 18 years (2010)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 20.9%
country comparison to the world: 56
male: 23.4%
female: 17.9% (2012)

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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 (declared); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union)

National holiday:
Independence Day, 24 February (1918); note – 24 February 1918 was the date Estonia declared its independence from Soviet Russia and established its statehood; 20 August 1991 was the date it declared its independence from the Soviet Union

several previous; latest adopted 28 June 1992; amended several times, last in 2012 (2012)

Legal system:
civil law system
International law organization participation:
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

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: Taavi ROIVAS (since 26 March 2014)
cabinet: Ministers appointed by the prime minister, approved by Parliament
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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 councils) elects the president, choosing between the two candidates with the largest number of votes; election last held on 29 August 2011 (next to be held in the fall of 2016); prime minister nominated by the president and approved by Parliament
election results: Toomas Hendrik ILVES reelected president; parliamentary vote – Toomas Hendrik ILVES 73, Indrek TARAND 25

Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament or Riigikogu (101 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 6 March 2011 (next to be held in March 2015)
election results: percent of vote by party – Estonian Reform Party 28.6%, Center Party of Estonia 23.3%, IRL 20.5%, SDE 17.1%, Estonian Greens 3.8%, Estonian People’s Union 2.1%, other 4.6%; seats by party – Estonian Reform Party 33, Center Party 21, IRL 23, SDE 19, unaffiliated 5

Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and organized into the Civil Chamber with a chamber chairman and 6 justices, the Criminal Chamber with a chamber chairman and 5 justices, the Administrative Law Chamber with a chamber chairman and 4 justices, and the Constitutional Review Chamber with 9 members – the chief justice and 2 justices from the Civil Chamber, 3 from the Criminal Chamber and 3 from the Administrative chamber)
judge selection and term of office: the chief justice is proposed by the president and appointed by the Riigikogu; other justices proposed by the chief justice and appointed by the Riigikogu; justices appointed for life
subordinate courts: circuit (appellate) courts; administrative, county, city, and specialized courts

Political parties and leaders:
Center Party of Estonia (Keskerakond) [Edgar SAVISAAR]
Estonian Greens (Rohelised) [Aleksander LAANE]
Estonian Conservative People’s Party (Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond) or EKRE [Mart HELME]
Estonian Reform Party (Reformierakond) [Taavi ROIVAS]
Social Democratic Party or SDE [Sven MIKSER]
Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica (Isamaa je Res Publica Liit) or IRL [Urmas REINSALU]

International organization participation:
Australia Group, BA, BIS, CBSS, CD, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA (cooperating state), EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Marina KALJURAND (since 6 September 2011)
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 Jeffrey D. LEVINE (since 24 July 2012)
embassy: Kentmanni 20, 15099 Tallinn
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [372] 668-8100
FAX: [372] 668-8134

Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), black, and white; various interpretations are linked to the flag colors; blue represents faith, loyalty, and devotion, while also reminiscent of the sky, sea, and lakes of the country; black symbolizes the soil of the country and the dark past and suffering endured by the Estonian people; white refers to the striving towards enlightenment and virtue, and is the color of birch bark and snow, as well as summer nights illuminated by the midnight sun

National symbol(s):
barn swallow, cornflower

National anthem:
name: “Mu isamaa, mu onn ja room” (My Native Land, My Pride and Joy)

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Economy – overview:
Estonia, a member of the European Union and the eurozone since 2004, has a modern market-based economy and one of the higher per capita income levels in Central Europe and the Baltic region. Estonia’s successive governments have pursued a free market, pro-business economic agenda and have wavered little in their commitment to pro-market reforms.

The current government has followed sound fiscal policies that have resulted in balanced budgets and low public debt. The economy benefits from strong electronics and telecommunications sectors and strong trade ties with Finland, Sweden, Russia, and Germany.

Estonia’s economy fell into recession in mid-2008, as a result of an investment and consumption slump following the bursting of the real estate market bubble and a decrease in export demand as result of economic slowdown in the rest of Europe, but the economy has recovered strongly in the last five years. Growth was expected to top 2% in 2014, before the events in Ukraine. Estonia adopted the euro on 1 January 2011.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$29.94 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
$29.49 billion (2012 est.)
$28.37 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$24.28 billion (2013 est.)

GDP – real growth rate:
1.5% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160
3.9% (2012 est.)
9.6% (2011 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP):
$22,400 (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
$22,000 (2012 est.)
$21,200 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

Gross national saving:
23.9% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
26.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
26.9% of GDP (2011 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use:
household consumption: 50.6%
government consumption: 19%
investment in fixed capital: 24.5%
investment in inventories: 0.9%
exports of goods and services: 90.4%
imports of goods and services: -90.3%
(2013 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 3.9%
industry: 30%
services: 66.2% (2013 est.)

Agriculture – products:
grain, potatoes, vegetables; livestock and dairy products; fish
engineering, electronics, wood and wood products, textiles; information technology, telecommunications

Industrial production growth rate:
3% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97

Labor force:
692,900 (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
Labor force – by occupation:
agriculture: 4.2%
industry: 20.2%
services: 75.6% (2010)

Unemployment rate:
10.9% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
10.2% (2012 est.)

Population below poverty line:

17.5% (2010)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.7%
highest 10%: 27.7% (2004)

Distribution of family income – Gini index:
31.3 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 111
37 (1999)

revenues: $8.489 billion
expenditures: $8.615 billion (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
35% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-0.5% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58

Public debt:
6% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
5.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities, including sub-sectors of central government, state government, local government, and social security funds

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.4% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
3.9% (2012 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
5.5% (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
5.75% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money:
$9.994 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77
$8.191 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
note: this figure represents the US dollar value of Estonian kroon in circulation prior to Estonia’s joining the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the EMU; individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders

Stock of broad money:
$13.64 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
$12.71 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$19.16 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
$19.24 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$2.332 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
$1.611 billion (31 December 2011)
$2.26 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance:
-$352.3 million (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 93
-$267.7 million (2012 est.)

$15.11 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
$14.46 billion (2012 est.)

Exports – commodities:
machinery and electrical equipment 21%, wood and wood products 9%, metals 9%, furniture 7%, vehicles and parts 5%, food products and beverages 4%, textiles 4%, plastics 3%

Exports – partners:
Sweden 16.8%, Finland 15.3%, Russia 12.7%, Latvia 9.2%, Lithuania 5.7%, Germany 4.8% (2012)

$16.38 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
$15.6 billion (2012 est.)

Imports – commodities:
machinery and electrical equipment, mineral fuels, chemical products, foodstuffs, plastics, textiles

Imports – partners:
Finland 15.1%, Germany 10.7%, Sweden 10.7%, Latvia 10%, Lithuania 9%, Poland 6.6%, China 4.4%, Russia 4.1% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$372.3 million (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
$300.7 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Debt – external:
$26.74 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76
$25.69 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment – at home:
$21.73 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69
$20.87 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad:
$7.34 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 59
$7.84 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates:
kroon (EEK) per US dollar –
0.7697 (2013 est.)
0.7778 (2012 est.)
11.81 (2010 est.)
11.23 (2009)
10.7 (2008)

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