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.



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
land: 42,388 sq km
water: 2,840 sq km
note: includes 1,520 islands in the Baltic Sea

Area - comparative

about twice the size of New Jersey

Land boundaries

total: 657 km
border countries (2): Latvia 333 km, Russia 324 km


3,794 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: limits as agreed to by Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Sweden, and Russia


maritime; wet, moderate winters, cool summers


marshy, lowlands; flat in the north, hilly in the south


mean elevation: 61 m
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

agricultural land: 22.2%
arable land 14.9%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 7.2%
forest: 52.1%
other: 25.7% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

40 sq km (2012)

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 amounts of pollutants emitted to the air have fallen dramatically; the pollution load of wastewater at purification plants has decreased substantially; 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 and Society


1,258,545 (July 2016 est.)


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.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 16.12% (male 104,011/female 98,809)
15-24 years: 9.3% (male 60,714/female 56,291)
25-54 years: 41.64% (male 263,762/female 260,334)
55-64 years: 13.47% (male 76,063/female 93,479)
65 years and over: 19.47% (male 82,968/female 162,114) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 53.5%
youth dependency ratio: 24.7%
elderly dependency ratio: 28.8%
potential support ratio: 3.5% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 42.4 years
male: 39 years
female: 45.8 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

-0.54% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

10.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

12.5 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

-3.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Population distribution

a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger and denser populations


urban population: 67.5% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: -0.45% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

TALLINN (capital) 391,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.81 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.51 male(s)/female
total population: 0.88 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

9 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.7 years
male: 71.9 years
female: 81.7 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.6 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

note: percent of women aged 18-49 (2004/05)

Health expenditures

6.4% of GDP (2014)

Physicians density

3.24 physicians/1,000 population (2012)

Hospital bed density

5.3 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source

urban: 100% of population
rural: 99% of population
total: 99.6% of population
urban: 0% of population
rural: 1% of population
total: 0.4% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 97.5% of population
rural: 96.6% of population
total: 97.2% of population
urban: 2.5% of population
rural: 3.4% of population
total: 2.8% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

1.3% (2013 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

8,600 (2013 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths


Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate
vectorborne disease: tickborne encephalitis (2016)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

24.5% (2014)

Education expenditures

4.8% of GDP (2013)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.8% (2015 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 17 years
male: 16 years
female: 17 years (2013)

Mother's mean age at first birth

26.5 (2013 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 15%
male: 19.3%
female: 10% (2014 est.)


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
etymology: the country name may be derived from the Aesti, an ancient people who lived along the eastern Baltic Sea in the first centuries A.D.

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


history: several previous; latest adopted 28 June 1992
amendments: proposed by at least one-fifth of Parliament members or by the president of the republic; passage requires three readings of the proposed amendment and a simple majority vote in two successive memberships of Parliament; passage of amendments to the “General Provisions” and “Amendment of the Constitution” chapters requires three-fifths majority vote of Parliament for a referendum and majority vote in a referendum; amended several times, last in 2015 (2016)

Legal system

civil law system

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Estonia
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal for all Estonian citizens

Executive branch

chief of state: President Kersti KALJULAID (since 10 October 2016)
head of government: Juri RATAS (since 23 November 2016)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister, approved by Parliament
elections/appointments: 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 3 rounds of balloting, then an electoral college consisting of Parliament members and local council members elects the president, choosing between the 2 candidates with the highest number of votes; election last held on 29-30 August 2016 but three rounds were inconclusive; two electoral college votes on 24 September 2016 were also indecisive, so the election passed back to Parliament; on 3 October the Parliament elected Kersti KALJULAID as president; prime minister nominated by the president and approved by Parliament
election results: Kersti KALJULAID elected president; Parliament vote - Kersti KALJULAID (independent) 81 of 98 votes; note - KALJULAID is Estonia's first female president

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament or Riigikogu (101 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 1 March 2015 (next to be held in March 2019)
election results: percent of vote by party - RE 27.7%, K 24.8%, SDE 15.2%, IRL 13.7%, EV 8.7%, EKRE 8.1%, other 1.8%; seats by party - RE 30, K 27, SDE 15, IRL 14, EV 8, EKRE 7

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 19 justices including the chief justice and organized into civil, criminal, administrative, and constitutional review chambers)
judge selection and term of office: the chief justice is proposed by the president of the republic 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) or K [Edgar SAVISAAR]
Estonian Conservative People's Party (Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond) or EKRE [Mart HELME]
Estonian Reform Party (Reformierakond) or RE [Taavi ROIVAS]
Free Party or EV [Andres HERKEL]
Social Democratic Party or SDE [Jevgeni OSSINOVSKI]
Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica (Isamaa je Res Publica Liit) or IRL [Margus TSAHKNA]

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), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, 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 Eerik MARMEI (since 18 September 2014)
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 James D. MELVILLE Jr. (since 8 December 2015)
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 colors: blue, black, white

National anthem

name: "Mu isamaa, mu onn ja room" (My Native Land, My Pride and Joy)
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 as Finland's but has different lyrics


Economy - overview

Estonia, a member of the EU since 2004 and the euro zone since 2011, 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

The economy benefits from strong electronics and telecommunications sectors and strong trade ties with Finland, Sweden, and Germany. After two years of robust recovery in 2011 and 2012, the Estonian economy faltered in 2013 with only 1.6% GDP growth, main

Estonia is challenged by a shortage of labor, both skilled and unskilled, although the government has amended its immigration law to allow easier hiring of highly qualified foreign workers.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$38.7 billion (2016 est.)
$38.12 billion (2015 est.)
$37.72 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$23.48 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

1.5% (2016 est.)
1.1% (2015 est.)
2.9% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$29,500 (2016 est.)
$29,000 (2015 est.)
$28,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

24.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
26.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
27.5% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 51.2%
government consumption: 20.9%
investment in fixed capital: 24.3%
investment in inventories: -1%
exports of goods and services: 79.2%
imports of goods and services: -74.6% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 3.5%
industry: 28.1%
services: 68.4% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

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


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

Industrial production growth rate

3.2% (2016 est.)

Labor force

651,200 (2016 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 3.9%
industry: 28.4%
services: 67.7% (2014)

Unemployment rate

6.5% (2016 est.)
6.2% (2015 est.)

Population below poverty line

21.6% (2014 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.7%
highest 10%: 27.7% (2004)

Distribution of family income - Gini index

35.6 (2014)
37 (1999)


revenues: $9.559 billion
expenditures: $9.596 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

40.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-0.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

9.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
9.7% of GDP (2015 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)

0.3% (2016 est.)
-0.5% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

0.05% (31 December 2013)
0.3% (31 December 2012)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

4.8% (31 December 2016 est.)
4.48% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$12.85 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$10.96 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply for the entire euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 18 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of

Stock of broad money

$14.71 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$14.05 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$21.29 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$19.88 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$2.034 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$2.591 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$2.332 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Current account balance

$136 million (2016 est.)
$487 million (2015 est.)


$12.27 billion (2016 est.)
$12.24 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

machinery and electrical equipment 34%, food products and beverages 9%, mineral fuels 9%, wood and wood products 10%, metals 7%, furniture 9%, vehicles and parts 6%, chemicals 5% (2015 est.)

Exports - partners

Sweden 18.8%, Finland 16%, Latvia 10.4%, Russia 6.7%, Lithuania 5.9%, Germany 5.2%, Norway 4.1% (2015)


$13.46 billion (2016 est.)
$13.19 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and electrical equipment 28 %, mineral fuels 11%, food and food products 10%, vehicles 9%, chemical products 8%, metals 8% (2015 est.)

Imports - partners

Finland 14.5%, Germany 11%, Lithuania 9%, Sweden 8.5%, Latvia 8.3%, Poland 7.4%, Russia 6.1%, Netherlands 5.5%, China 4.8% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$475.5 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$414.8 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$19.05 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$18.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$22.86 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$22.02 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$9.414 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$9.164 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Exchange rates

kroon (EEK) per US dollar -
0.8985 (2016 est.)
0.9012 (2015 est.)
0.9012 (2014 est.)
0.7525 (2013 est.)


Electricity - access

electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Electricity - production

12 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

8.2 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

6.484 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - imports

3.73 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

3.138 million kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

87% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

0.2% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

12% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)

Crude oil - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

15,190 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

27,710 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

6,954 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

32,610 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Natural gas - production

0 cu m (2015 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

530 million cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2015 est.)

Natural gas - imports

530 million cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

5.8 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 387,607
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 31 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 1.904 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 150 (July 2015 est.)

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 on
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 (2015)

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 2 (2008)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 1.119 million
percent of population: 88.4% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 3
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 14
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 512,388
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 870,362 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

ES (2016)


18 (2013)

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 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 3 (2013)


1 (2012)


gas 868 km (2013)


total: 1,196 km
broad gauge: 1,196 km 1.520-m and 1.524-m gauge (133 km electrified)
note: includes 277 km of private rail (2014)


total: 58,412 km (includes urban roads)
paved: 10,427 km (includes 115 km of expressways)
unpaved: 47,985 km (2011)


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

Merchant marine

total: 25
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

major seaport(s): 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

18-27 for compulsory military or governmental service, conscript service requirement 8-11 months depending on education; NCOs, reserve officers, and specialists serve 11 months (2013)

Military expenditures

2% of GDP (2015)
2% of GDP (2014)
2% of GDP (2013)
1.92% of GDP (2012)
1.69% of GDP (2011)
1.92% of GDP (2010)

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

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 85,301 (2015); note - following independence in 1991, automatic citizenship was restricted to those who were Estonian citizens prior to the 1940 Soviet occupation and their descendants; thousands of ethnic Russians remained stateless when forced to choose between passing Estonian language and citizenship tests or applying for Russian citizenship; one reason for demurring on Estonian citizenship was to retain the right of visa-free travel to Russia; stateless residents can vote in local elections but not general elections; stateless parents who have been lawful residents of Estonia for at least five years can apply for citizenship for their children before they turn 15 years old

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