20070813-QTCa-JFTC-Fl5LAfter 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, and since 2011 uses Euro as its currency.

Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland, between Latvia and Russia
Geographic coordinates: 59 00 N, 26 00 E
total: 45,226 sq km
land: 43,211 sq km
water: 2,015 sq km
(note: includes 1,520 islands in the Baltic Sea)
Land boundaries: total: 633 km
Border countries: Latvia 339 km, Russia 294 km
Coastline: 3,794 km
Climate: 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)
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 twentieth 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, Ship Pollution, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Population: 1,291,170 (July 2010 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 14.9% (male 100,143/female 94,051)
15-64 years: 67.5% (male 420,896/female 459,246)
65 years and over: 17.6% (male 76,486/female 153,024) (2010 est)
Median age:
total: 40.2 years
male: 36.7 years
female: 43.7 years (2010 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.635% (2010 est.)
Birth rate: 10.42 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)


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)

Languages: Estonian (official) 67.3%, Russian 29.7%, other 2.3%, unknown 0.7% (2000 census)

(age 15 and over can read and write)
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.8% (2000 census)

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
Capital: Tallinn
geographic coordinates: 59 25 N, 24 45 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

Independence: 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

Constitution: adopted 28 June 1992
Legal system:based on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
Suffrage: 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: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister, approved by Parliament
elections: president indirectly elected by Parliament for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); if a candidate does not secure two-thirds of the votes after three rounds of balloting, then an electoral assembly of Parliament and local council members elects the president, choosing between the two candidates with the highest 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 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:Toomas Hendrik ILVES reelected president; Parliament vote – Toomas Hendrik ILVES (independent) 73, Indrek TARAND (independent) 25

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]

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


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):

$23.71 billion (2009 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$19.31 billion (2009 est.)

GDP – real growth rate:

-13.9% (2009 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP):

$18,300 (2009 est.)

GDP – composition by sector:

$21,100 (2008 est.)
$22,100 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

Labor force:
691,000 (2009 est.)
Unemployment rate:

13.8% (2009 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.7%
highest 10%: 27.7% (2004)
Distribution of family income – Gini index:
 34 (2008)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):

-0.1% (2009 est.)

Public debt:

7.1% of GDP (2009 est.)

Agriculture – products:
potatoes, vegetables; livestock and dairy products; fish

engineering, electronics, wood and wood products, textile; information technology, telecommunications
Industrial production growth rate:

-24.3% (2009 est.)

Debt – external:

$3.981 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Currency:  Euro
Exchange rates:
Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones – main lines in use:

492,800 (2009)

Telephones – mobile cellular:

2.72 million (2009)

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 available throughout most of the country
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 (2008)
Internet country code:  .ee
Internet hosts:
729,534 (2010)
Internet users:

888,100 (2008)


19 (2010)
 1 (2007)
gas 859 km (2009)
 total: 1,196 km
broad gauge: 1,196 km 1.520 m/1.524-m gauge (131 km electrified) (2008)
total:  58,034 km
320 km (2008)
Merchant marine:
total: 24
by type: cargo 5, passenger/cargo 21, petroleum tanker 2, chemical tanker 1
by type: cargo 4, chemical tanker 1, passenger/cargo 17, petroleum tanker 2
foreign-owned: 3 (Germany 1, Norway 2)
registered in other countries: 77 (Antigua and Barbuda 20, Belize 1, Cambodia 1, Cyprus 7, Dominica 6, Finland 2, Latvia 4, Malta 16, former Netherlands Antilles 1, Norway 1, Saint Kitts and Nevis 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 10, Sierra Leone 1, Sweden 3, Venezuela 1) (2010)
Ports and terminals:
Kuivastu, Kunda, Muuga, Parnu Reid, Sillamae, Tallinn

SOURCE: CIA factbook