Photos of Estonia

Introduction

Background

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 and many other countries - 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.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

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

Geographic coordinates

59 00 N, 26 00 E

Area

total: 45,228 sq km

land: 42,388 sq km

water: 2,840 sq km

note: includes 1,520 islands in the Baltic Sea

comparison ranking: total 132

Area - comparative

about twice the size of New Jersey

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 657 km

border countries (2): Latvia 333 km; Russia 324 km

Coastline

3,794 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

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

Climate

maritime; wet, moderate winters, cool summers

Terrain

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

Elevation

highest point: Suur Munamagi 318 m

lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m

mean elevation: 61 m

Natural resources

oil shale, peat, rare earth elements, phosphorite, clay, limestone, sand, dolomite, arable land, sea mud

Land use

agricultural land: 22.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 14.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 7.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 52.1% (2018 est.)

other: 25.7% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

20 sq km (2016)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Peipus - 4,300 sq km (shared with Russia); Lake Võrtsjärv - 270 sq km

Population distribution

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

Natural hazards

sometimes flooding occurs in the spring

Geography - note

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

People and Society

Population

1,202,762 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 160

Nationality

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.)

Languages

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

Religions

Orthodox 16.2%, Lutheran 9.9%, 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: 15.56% (male 95,732/female 91,384)

15-64 years: 62.27% (male 376,599/female 372,380)

65 years and over: 22.17% (2023 est.) (male 94,291/female 172,376)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 58.3

youth dependency ratio: 26.1

elderly dependency ratio: 32.3

potential support ratio: 3.1 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 44.7 years (2023 est.)

male: 41.5 years

female: 47.9 years

comparison ranking: total 24

Population growth rate

-0.74% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 228

Birth rate

8.5 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 210

Death rate

13.1 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 12

Net migration rate

-2.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 176

Population distribution

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

Urbanization

urban population: 69.8% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: -0.03% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

454,000 TALLINN (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.55 male(s)/female

total population: 0.89 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

28.2 years (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

5 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 164

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.5 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 196

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 78.1 years (2023 est.)

male: 73.5 years

female: 82.9 years

comparison ranking: total population 79

Total fertility rate

1.62 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 178

Gross reproduction rate

0.79 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: NA

total: 99.6% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: NA

total: 0.4% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

7.8% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

3.47 physicians/1,000 population (2019)

Hospital bed density

4.6 beds/1,000 population (2018)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 99.8% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 99.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.2% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0.2% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate (2020)

vectorborne diseases: tickborne encephalitis

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

21.2% (2016)

comparison ranking: 93

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 11.65 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 4 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 1.92 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 4.6 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 1.13 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 7

Tobacco use

total: 29.7% (2020 est.)

male: 36.3% (2020 est.)

female: 23% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 32

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

0.4% (2013/15)

comparison ranking: 126

Education expenditures

6.6% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 29

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.9%

male: 99.9%

female: 99.9% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years

male: 15 years

female: 17 years (2020)

Environment

Environment - current issues

air polluted with sulfur dioxide from oil-shale burning power plants in northeast; however, the amounts of pollutants emitted into the air have fallen dramatically and the pollution load of wastewater at purification plants has decreased substantially due to improved technology and environmental monitoring; 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-Heavy Metals, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Climate

maritime; wet, moderate winters, cool summers

Land use

agricultural land: 22.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 14.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 7.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 52.1% (2018 est.)

other: 25.7% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 69.8% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: -0.03% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.85% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 56

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 156

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 6.35 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 16.59 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 0.99 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 473,000 tons (2015 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 117,020 tons (2015 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 24.7% (2015 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Peipus - 4,300 sq km (shared with Russia); Lake Võrtsjärv - 270 sq km

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 60 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 790 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 4.5 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

12.81 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

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 (while occupied by the USSR)

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

Government type

parliamentary republic

Capital

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

etymology: the Estonian name is generally believed to be derived from "Taani-linn" (originally meaning "Danish castle", now "Danish town") after a stronghold built in the area by the Danes; it could also have come from "tali-linn" ("winter castle" or "winter town") or "talu-linn" ("home castle" or "home town")

Administrative divisions

15 urban municipalities (linnad, singular - linn), 64 rural municipalities (vallad, singular vald)

urban municipalities: Haapsalu, Keila, Kohtla-Jarve, Loksa, Maardu, Narva, Narva-Joesuu, Paide, Parnu, Rakvere, Sillamae, Tallinn, Tartu, Viljandi, Voru

rural municipalities: Alutaguse, Anija, Antsla, Elva, Haademeeste, Haljala, Harku, Hiiumaa, Jarva, Joelahtme, Jogeva, Johvi, Kadrina, Kambja, Kanepi, Kastre, Kehtna, Kihnu, Kiili, Kohila, Kose, Kuusalu, Laane-Harju, Laane-Nigula, Laaneranna, Luganuse, Luunja, Marjamaa, Muhu, Mulgi, Mustvee, Noo, Otepaa, Peipsiaare, Pohja-Parnumaa, Pohja-Sakala, Poltsamaa, Polva, Raasiku, Rae, Rakvere, Räpina, Rapla, Rouge, Ruhnu, Saarde, Saaremaa, Saku, Saue, Setomaa, Tapa, Tartu, Toila, Tori, Torva, Turi, Vaike-Maarja, Valga, Viimsi, Viljandi, Vinni, Viru-Nigula, Vormsi, Voru

Independence

24 February 1918 (from Soviet Russia); 20 August 1991 (declared from the Soviet Union); 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 restoring its statehood

Constitution

history: several previous; latest adopted 28 June 1992, entered into force 3 July 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 at least three-fifths majority vote by Parliament to conduct a referendum and majority vote in a referendum; amended several times, last in 2015

Legal system

civil law system

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

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

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal; age 16 for local elections

Executive branch

chief of state: President Alar KARIS (since 11 October 2021)

head of government: Prime Minister Kaja KALLAS (since 26 January 2021)

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; if a president is still not elected, the process begins again; election last held on 30 to 31 August 2021 (next to be held in 2026); prime minister nominated by the president and approved by Parliament



election results:
2021
: Alar KARIS (independent) elected president; won second round of voting in parliament with 72 of 101 votes

2016: Kersti KALJULAID elected president; won sixth round of voting in parliament with 81 of 98 votes (17 ballots blank); KALJULAID sworn in on 10 October 2016 - first female head of state of Estonia

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament or Riigikogu (101 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by open- list proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 5 March 2023; next elections 7 March 2027

election results:
2023:
percent of vote by party - Reform 31.2%, EKRE 16.1%, Center 15.3%, E200 13.3%, SDE 9.3%, Pro Patria 8.2%, Left 2.4%, Right 2.3%, Greens 1.0%; seats by party - Reform 37, EKRE 17, Center 16, E200 14, SDE 9, Pro Patria 8; composition - men 71, women 30, percent of women 29.7%

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 [Juri RATAS]
Estonia 200 [Kristina KALLAS]
Estonian Conservative People's Party (Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond) or EKRE [Martin HELME]
Estonian Greens (Greens/EFA) [Marko KAASIK & Johanna Maria TOUGU]
Estonian Reform Party (Reformierakond) or RE [Kaja KALLAS]
Pro Patria (Isamaa) [Helir-Valdor SEEDER]
Social Democratic Party or SDE [Lauri LAANEMETS]

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, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNTSO, UPU, Wassenaar Arrangement, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Kristjan PRIKK (since 7 July 2021)

chancery: 2131 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC, 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 588-0101

FAX: [1] (202) 588-0108

email address and website:
Embassy.Washington@mfa.ee

https://washington.mfa.ee/

consulate(s) general: New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador George P. KENT (since 21 February 2023)

embassy: Kentmanni 20, 15099 Tallinn

mailing address: 4530 Tallinn Place, Washington DC  20521-4530

telephone: [372] 668-8100

FAX: [372] 668-8265

email address and website:
acstallinn@state.gov

https://ee.usembassy.gov/

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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 2 (both cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Historic Center (Old Town) of Tallinn; Struve Geodetic Arc

Economy

Economic overview

advanced service-based EU and OECD economy; regional trade and telecommunications leader; recently rejected Baltic sea rail tunnel from Tallinn to Helsinki; flat income taxation; substantial welfare system; balanced budget culture; business-friendly climate

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$51.531 billion (2021 est.)
$47.708 billion (2020 est.)
$47.972 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 112

Real GDP growth rate

8.01% (2021 est.)
-0.55% (2020 est.)
3.74% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 40

Real GDP per capita

$38,700 (2021 est.)
$35,900 (2020 est.)
$36,200 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 53

GDP (official exchange rate)

$31.461 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

4.65% (2021 est.)
-0.44% (2020 est.)
2.28% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 154

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: AA- (2018)

Moody's rating: A1 (2002)

Standard & Poors rating: AA- (2011)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.8% (2017 est.)

industry: 29.2% (2017 est.)

services: 68.1% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 80; industry 84; agriculture 156

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 50.3% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 20.4% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 24% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 2.2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 77.2% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -74% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

wheat, milk, barley, rapeseeds, rye, oats, peas, potatoes, pork, triticale

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate

7.13% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 60

Labor force

704,700 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 154

Unemployment rate

6.33% (2021 est.)
6.8% (2020 est.)
4.45% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 104

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 17.1% (2021 est.)

male: 16.5%

female: 17.8%

comparison ranking: total 101

Average household expenditures

on food: 20.3% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 7.8% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.3%

highest 10%: 25.6% (2015)

Remittances

1.56% of GDP (2021 est.)
1.61% of GDP (2020 est.)
1.74% of GDP (2019 est.)

Budget

revenues: $12.282 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $12.269 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-0.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 54

Public debt

23.77% of GDP (2020 est.)
14.05% of GDP (2019 est.)
13.46% of GDP (2018 est.)

note: data cover general government debt and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities, including sub-sectors of central government, state government, local government, and social security funds

comparison ranking: 181

Taxes and other revenues

20.69% (of GDP) (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 84

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$709.328 million (2021 est.)
-$370.205 million (2020 est.)
$735.796 million (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 127

Exports

$29.056 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$21.769 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$22.962 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

comparison ranking: 75

Exports - partners

Finland 12%, United States 9%, Latvia 9%, Sweden 8%, Russia 6% (2021)

Exports - commodities

broadcasting equipment, coal tar oil, refined petroleum, cars, prefabricated buildings, lumber (2021)

Imports

$29.234 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$21.813 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$21.712 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

comparison ranking: 73

Imports - partners

Russia 15%, Finland 10%, Germany 10%, Latvia 7%, Lithuania 6% (2021)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars, coal tar oil, electricity, lumber, broadcasting equipment (2021)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$2.371 billion (31 December 2021 est.)
$1.997 billion (31 December 2020 est.)
$1.426 billion (31 December 2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 126

Debt - external

$23.944 billion (2019 est.)
$23.607 billion (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 89

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
0.845 (2021 est.)
0.876 (2020 est.)
0.893 (2019 est.)
0.847 (2018 est.)
0.885 (2017 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 3.03 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 9.172 billion kWh (2020 est.)

exports: 3.722 billion kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 7.367 billion kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 375 million kWh (2020 est.)

comparison rankings: transmission/distribution losses 78; imports 32; exports 41; consumption 104; installed generating capacity 107

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 55.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 14.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 27.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 3,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 3,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 21,800 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 27,500 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 216

Refined petroleum products - exports

27,150 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 64

Refined petroleum products - imports

35,520 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 95

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 417.106 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 417.276 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

4.924 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 44,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 3.979 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 901,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 135

Energy consumption per capita

76.329 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 80

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 265,944 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 22 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 112

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 1,980,838 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 149 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 150

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: the competitive telecom market continues to progress with a range of regulatory measures which have enabled alternative operators to chip away at the fixed-line market share; fixed-line infrastructure upgrades have been focused on fiber, and the legacy DSL network has gradually been replaced; limited commercial 5G deployments have been made though an expansion of service availability awaits the delayed auction of spectrum in the 3.5GHz band, which is expected to be held later in 2021 (2021)

domestic: 22 per 100 for fixed-line subscribership and approximately 149 per 100 for mobile-cellular (2021)

international: country code - 372; landing points for the EE-S-1, EESF-3, Baltic Sea Submarine Cable, FEC and EESF-2 fiber-optic submarine cables to other Estonia points, Finland, and Sweden; 2 international switches are located in Tallinn (2019)

Broadcast media

the publicly owned broadcaster, Eesti Rahvusringhaaling (ERR), operates 3 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; in 2016, there were 42 on-demand services available in Estonia, including 19 pay TVOD and SVOD services; roughly 85% of households accessed digital television services

Internet users

total: 1.183 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 91% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 147

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 415,610 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 31 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 96

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 3 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 14

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 31,981 (2018)

Airports

26 (2024)

comparison ranking: 128

Heliports

2 (2024)

Pipelines

2,360 km gas (2016)

Railways

total: 1,441 km (2020) 225 km electrified

comparison ranking: total 83

Roadways

total: 89,382 km (2022)

comparison ranking: total 57

Waterways

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

comparison ranking: 100

Merchant marine

total: 72 (2023)

by type: general cargo 3, oil tanker 3, other 66

comparison ranking: total 108

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Kuivastu, Kunda, Muuga, Parnu Reid, Sillamae, Tallinn

Transportation - note

Estonia operates two PC 5 or 6 class icebreakers in the Baltic Sea
note - PC indicates a Polar Class vessel: PC 5 - year-round operation in medium first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions (ice thickness up to 70-120 cm); PC 6 - summer/autumn operation in medium first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions (ice thickness up to 30-70 cm)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Estonian Defense Forces: Land Forces, Navy, Air Force, Estonian Defense League (Reserves)

Ministry of Interior: Police and Border Guard Board, Internal Security Service (2024)

Military expenditures

2.7% of GDP (2023 est.)
2.2% of GDP (2022 est.)
2% of GDP (2021)
2.3% of GDP (2020)
2% of GDP (2019)

comparison ranking: 36

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 7,000 active-duty personnel; approximately 15,000 Defense League (2023)

note: the Estonian Defense Forces rely largely on reservists who have completed compulsory conscription in the previous 10 years to fill out its active duty and Territorial Defense units during a crisis; there are more than 40,000 trained reservists and approximately 230,000 Estonians are enrolled in the mobilization registry

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Estonian military has a mix of Soviet-era and more modern equipment, mostly from western European suppliers, as well as Israel, South Korea, and the US (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-27 for compulsory military or governmental service for men; conscript service requirement 8-11 months depending on education; non-commissioned officers, reserve officers, and specialists serve 11 months; women can volunteer, and as of 2018 could serve in any military branch (2023)

note 1: conscripts comprise approximately 3,000-3,300 of the Estonian military's 7,000 active-duty personnel and serve in all branches, except for the Air Force; after conscript service, reservists are called up for training every 5 years; Estonia has had conscription since 1991

note 2: in 2020, women comprised about 10% of the full-time professional military force; the National Defense League includes a Women's Voluntary Defense Organization of about 3,000 members

Military - note

the Estonian military is a compact force that relies heavily on conscripts and reservists and the support of its NATO allies; Estonia’s defense policy aims to guarantee the country’s independence and sovereignty, protect its territorial integrity, including waters and airspace, and preserve constitutional order; Estonia’s main defense goals are developing and maintaining a credible deterrent to outside aggression and ensuring the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) can fulfill their commitments to NATO and interoperate with the armed forces of NATO and EU member states; the EDF’s primary external focus is Russia; since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Estonia has boosted defense spending, sent arms to Ukraine, and sought to boost the EDF’s capabilities in such areas as air defense, artillery, personnel readiness, and surveillance

Estonia has been a member of NATO since 2004 and is fully integrated within the NATO structure; since 2017, Estonia has hosted a UK-led multinational NATO ground force battlegroup as part of the Alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence initiative; as the EDF Air Force does not have any combat aircraft, NATO has provided airspace protection for Estonia since 2004 through its Baltic Air Policing mission; NATO member countries that possess air combat capabilities voluntarily contribute to the mission on four-month rotations; NATO fighter aircraft have been hosted at Estonia’s Ämari Air Base since 2014; Estonia also hosts a NATO cyber security center; it cooperates closely with the EU on defense issues through the EU Common Security and Defense Policy and is a member of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, a pool of high-readiness military forces from 10 Baltic and Scandinavian countries designed to respond to a wide range of contingencies in the North Atlantic, Baltic Sea, and High North regions; Estonia also has close defense ties with its Baltic neighbors and has bilateral military agreements with a number of European countries, as well as Canada and the US

the Estonian Army features a divisional headquarters, two infantry brigades, and an artillery battalion, plus supporting units; it would rely heavily on mobilized reserves during a crisis, which would be used to fill out active-duty units and staff territorial defense units; the Estonian Navy features a mine warfare flotilla; the EDF also has a special operations command (2023)

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 often criticizes the Estonian Government over alleged mistreatment of ethnic Russians 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

refugees (country of origin): 38,185 (Ukraine) (as of 31 December 2023)

stateless persons: 70,604 (2022); 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

producer of synthetic drugs; 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