page last updated on April 18, 2013




Location of Estonia







Map of 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 Switzerland- 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.










Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland, between Latvia and Russia







total: 45,228 sq km

land: 42,388 sq km

water: 2,840 sq km

note: includes 1,520 islands in the Baltic Sea



Area - comparative:


Approximately the same size a Switzerland



Land boundaries:


total: 633 km

border countries: Latvia 343 km, Russia 290 km





3,794 km







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




Geography - note:


the mainland terrain is flat, boggy, and partly wooded; offshore lie more than 1,500 islands







People and Society



Ethnic groups:


Estonian 68.7%, Russian 25.6%, Ukrainian 2.1%, Belarusian 1.2%, Finn 0.8%, other 1.6% (2008 census)





Estonian (official) 67.3%, Russian 29.7%, other 2.3%, unknown 0.7% (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)





1,266,375 (July 2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 157



Age structure:


0-14 years: 15.4% (male 100,605/female 94,831)

15-24 years: 11.9% (male 77,302/female 73,446)

25-54 years: 41.3% (male 250,997/female 272,460)

55-64 years: 13.1% (male 71,442/female 94,278)

65 years and over: 18.2% (male 76,356/female 154,658) (2013 est.)



Median age:


total: 40.8 years

male: 37.2 years

female: 44.1 years (2012 est.)



Population growth rate:


-0.65% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 224



Birth rate:


10.43 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 183



Death rate:


13.6 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 16



Net migration rate:


-3.33 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 179





urban population: 69% of total population (2010)

rate of urbanization: 0.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)



Major cities - population:


TALLINN (capital) 399,000 (2009)



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: 0.49 male(s)/female

total population: 0.84 male(s)/female (2011 est.)



Maternal mortality rate:


2 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

country comparison to the world: 183



Infant mortality rate:


total: 6.94 deaths/1,000 live births

country comparison to the world: 163

male: 8.07 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 5.74 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)



Life expectancy at birth:


total population: 73.58 years

country comparison to the world: 117

male: 68.3 years

female: 79.19 years (2012 est.)



Total fertility rate:


1.45 children born/woman (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 198



Health expenditures:


6% of GDP (2010)

country comparison to the world: 107



Physicians density:


3.409 physicians/1,000 population (2008)



Hospital bed density:


5.4 beds/1,000 population (2009)



Sanitation facility access:



urban: 96% of population

rural: 94% of population

total: 95% of population


urban: 4% of population

rural: 6% of population

total: 5% of population (2010 est.)



HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:


1.2% (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 42



HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:


9,900 (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 97



HIV/AIDS - deaths:


fewer than 500 (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 85



Major infectious diseases:


degree of risk: intermediate

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea

vectorborne disease: tickborne encephalitis (2009)



Obesity - adult prevalence rate:


14.4% (2004)

country comparison to the world: 38



Education expenditures:


6.1% of GDP (2009)

country comparison to the world: 37





definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.8%

male: 99.8%

female: 99.8% (2010 census)



School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):


total: 16 years

male: 15 years

female: 17 years (2008)



Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:


total: 33%

country comparison to the world: 14

male: 35.4%

female: 30% (2010)










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





adopted 28 June 1992



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: Prime Minister Andrus ANSIP (since 12 April 2005)

cabinet: Ministers appointed by the prime minister, approved by Parliament

(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)

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:


Supreme Court (chairman appointed for life by Parliament)



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 [Margo MILJAND]; Estonian People's Union [Margo MILJAND]; Estonian Reform Party (Reformierakond) [Andrus ANSIP]; 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, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO





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)

Click to play anthem

lyrics/music: Johann Voldemar JANNSEN/Fredrik PACIUS

note: adopted 1920, though banned between 1940 and 1990 under Soviet occupation; the anthem, used in Estonia since 1869, shares the same melody with that of Finland but has different lyrics









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. Tallinn's priority has been to sustain high growth rates - on average 8% per year from 2003 to 2007. Estonia's economy fell into recession in mid-2008 with GDP contracting 14.3% in 2009, 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. Estonia rebounded nearly 8% in 2011 and the Estonian economy now has one of the higher GDP growth rates in Europe. Estonia adopted the euro on 1 January 2011.



GDP (purchasing power parity):


EUR 21.83 billion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 113

EUR 21731 billion (2011 est.)

EUR 19.80 billion (2010 est.)




GDP (official exchange rate):


EUR 16.44 billion (2012 est.)



GDP - real growth rate:


2.4% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 131

7.6% (2011 est.)

2.3% (2010 est.)



GDP - per capita (PPP):


EUR 16,273 (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 66

EUR 15,889 (2011 est.)

EUR 14,738 (2010 est.)




GDP - composition by sector:


agriculture: 3.7%

industry: 30.2%

services: 66.1% (2012 est.)



Labor force:


675,900 (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 153



Labor force - by occupation:


agriculture: 4.2%

industry: 20.2%

services: 75.6% (2010)



Unemployment rate:


11.5% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 123

12.5% (2011 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: 108

37 (1999)



Investment (gross fixed):


23.3% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 63





revenues: EUR 6.076 billion

expenditures: EUR 6.478 billion (2012 est.)



Taxes and other revenues:


37% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 59



Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):


-2.4% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 88



Public debt:


8% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 144

5.9% of GDP (2011 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



Inflation rate (consumer prices):


3.3% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 87

5% (2011 est.)



Commercial bank prime lending rate:


8% (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 139

6.1% (31 December 2011 est.)





Stock of domestic credit:


EUR 15.18 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 85

EUR 14.69 billion (31 December 2011 est.)



Market value of publicly traded shares:


EUR 1.237 billion (31 December 2011)

country comparison to the world: 97

EUR 1.735 billion (31 December 2010)

EUR 2.037 billion (31 December 2009)



Agriculture - products:


grain, potatoes, vegetables; livestock and dairy products; fish





engineering, electronics, wood and wood products, textiles; information technology, telecommunications



Industrial production growth rate:


18% (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 2



Current account balance:


EUR 382 million (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 47

EUR 366 million (2011 est.)





EUR 13.34 billion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 78

EUR 12.88 billion (2011 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 17%, Finland 16.3%, Russia 11.9%, Latvia 8.6%, Germany 4.9%, Lithuania 4.9% (2011)





EUR 13.72 billion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 81

EUR 13.12 billion (2011 est.)



Imports - commodities:


machinery and electrical equipment, mineral fuels, chemical products, foodstuffs, plastics, textiles



Imports - partners:


Finland 13.4%, Latvia 11.6%, Sweden 11.3%, Germany 10.9%, Lithuania 8.7%, Poland 7.2%, China 4.7% (2011)



Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:


EUR 167 million (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 159

EUR 159 million (31 December 2011 est.)



Debt - external:


EUR 19.90 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 72

EUR 19.17 billion (31 December 2011 est.)



Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:


EUR 12.86 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 75

EUR 12.71 billion (31 December 2011 est.)



Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:


EUR 5.073 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 60

EUR 5.649 billion (31 December 2011 est.)





Fiscal year:


calendar year










Electricity - production:

12.89 billion kWh (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 89



Electricity - consumption:


7.755 billion kWh (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 96



Electricity - exports:


4.354 billion kWh (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 31



Electricity - imports:


1.1 billion kWh (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 63



Electricity - installed generating capacity:


2.661 million kW (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 92



Electricity - from fossil fuels:


94.6% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69



Electricity - from nuclear fuels:


0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 84



Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:


0.3% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 146



Electricity - from other renewable sources:


5.1% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 36



Crude oil - production:


7,700 bbl/day (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 84



Crude oil - exports:


0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 106



Crude oil - imports:


0.01 bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 88



Crude oil - proved reserves:


0 bbl (1 January 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 128



Refined petroleum products - production:


0 bbl/day (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 143



Refined petroleum products - consumption:


26,340 bbl/day (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 122



Refined petroleum products - exports:


0 bbl/day (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 174



Refined petroleum products - imports:


23,270 bbl/day (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 101



Natural gas - production:


0 cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 124



Natural gas - consumption:


701 million cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 97



Natural gas - exports:


0 cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 93



Natural gas - imports:


701 million cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 65



Natural gas - proved reserves:


0 cu m (1 January 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 132



Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:


20.56 million Mt (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 82









Telephones - main lines in use:

471,900 (2011)

country comparison to the world: 101



Telephones - mobile cellular:


1.863 million (2011)

country comparison to the world: 142



Telephone system:


general assessment: foreign investment in the form of joint business ventures greatly improved telephone service with a wide range of high quality voice, data, and Internet services available

domestic: 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

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 (2011)



Broadcast media:


the publicly owned broadcaster, Eesti Rahvusringhaaling (ERR), operates 2 TV channels and 5 radio networks; growing number of private commercial radio stations broadcasting nationally, regionally, and locally; fully transitioned to digital television in 2010; national private TV channels expanding service; a range of channels are aimed at Russian-speaking viewers; high penetration rate for cable TV services with more than half of Estonian households connected (2008)



Internet country code:





Internet hosts:


865,494 (2012)

country comparison to the world: 49



Internet users:


971,700 (2009)

country comparison to the world: 102










18 (2012)

country comparison to the world: 140



Airports - with paved runways:


total: 13

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 8

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2012)



Airports - with unpaved runways:


total: 5

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 3 (2012)





1 (2012)





gas 859 km (2010)





total: 1,200 km

country comparison to the world: 85

broad gauge: 1,200 km 1.520-m and 1.524-m gauge (133 km electrified) (2008)





total: 58,034 km (includes 41,912 km urban roads)

country comparison to the world: 75

paved: 34,936 km (includes 104 km of expressways)

unpaved: 23,098 km (2009)





335 km (320 km are navigable year round) (2011)

country comparison to the world: 91



Merchant marine:


total: 25

country comparison to the world: 89

by type: cargo 4, chemical tanker 1, passenger/cargo 18, petroleum tanker 2

foreign-owned: 3 (Germany 1, Norway 2)

registered in other countries: 63 (Antigua and Barbuda 10, Belize 1, Cambodia 1, Canada 1, Cook Islands 1, Cyprus 6, Dominica 6, Finland 2, Latvia 3, Malta 16, Russia 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 8, Sierra Leone 2, Sweden 3, Venezuela 1, unknown 1) (2010)



Ports and terminals:


Kuivastu, Kunda, Muuga, Parnu Reid, Sillamae, Tallinn









Military branches:

Estonian Defense Forces (Eesti Kaitsevagi): Land Force (Maavagi), Navy (Merevagi), Air Force (Ohuvagi), Defense League (Kaitseliit) (2012)



Military service age and obligation:


obligation for compulsory service ages 16-60, with conscription "likely" ages 18-27; service requirement 8-11 months (2009)



Manpower available for military service:


males age 16-49: 291,801

females age 16-49: 302,696 (2010 est.)



Manpower fit for military service:


males age 16-49: 210,854

females age 16-49: 251,185 (2010 est.)



Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:


male: 6,668

female: 6,309 (2010 est.)



Military expenditures:


2% of GDP (2005 est.)

country comparison to the world: 66







Transnational Issues 


Disputes - international:

Russia and Estonia in May 2005 signed a technical border agreement, but Russia in June 2005 recalled its signature after the Estonian parliament added to its domestic ratification act a historical preamble referencing the Soviet occupation and Estonia's pre-war borders under the 1920 Treaty of Tartu; Russia contends that the preamble allows Estonia to make territorial claims on Russia in the future, while Estonian officials deny that the preamble has any legal impact on the treaty text; Russia demands better treatment of the Russian-speaking population in Estonia; as a member state that forms part of the EU's external border, Estonia implements 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






Source: CIA Factbook