Estonia Geography and Population

By | January 8, 2023

Estonia (Geography)

Estonia (Geography), Population

At the 1989 census, there were 1.56 million of population in Estonia, of which 61.3% Estonians and 35.2% Slavic speakers (Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians). Five years later, the population had fallen by approximately 60,000 due to eviction of Russians and birth deficit. In the period 1989-2000, the population fell by 12.5%. Pr. 1.1.2005, the total population was approximately 25,000 lower than in 2000 and the trend is downward. The low birth rate and the high death rate reflect that the population is old; 22% of the population are pensioners (2005). The difference in life expectancy, but in part also the consequences of World War II, is the cause of a large predominance of older women. The Slavic-speaking residents live predominantly in the cities, especially the larger industrial cities in NE-Estonia, where they make up a majority in several places. The vast majority have come to Estonia after 1945 as part of Soviet industrialization policy. Two thirds of the population live in the six northernmost of the country’s fifteen counties, and here three quarters of industrial production takes place.

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Even before independence in 1991, a privatization of the business community had begun, primarily of retail and crafts. Later, a number of industrial enterprises have also been privatized, just as foreign companies have established themselves or bought into existing companies.

Industries accounts for approximately half of the production value and employs approximately a quarter of the workforce (2004). Light industry and food industry are dominant with the textile industry as the largest. The food industry processes meat, dairy products and fish. Pärnu is home to a large part of the Baltic Sea fishery, while the significant high seas fleet is based in Tallinn. Wood processing and cellulose production are important with a considerable export also to western markets. Estonia is the only Baltic country to be self-sufficient in electricity thanks to large oil shale deposits in the north-east of the country. Oil shale is also a raw material in the chemical industry, the large fertilizer factory in Kohtla-Järve, and the ash from the Narva power plants is recycled in the building materials industry. The oil shale is not very deep and is easier and cheaper to break than coal. It is mined both in open pits and in shaft mines. Although the shale has a lower calorific value than coal, mining is profitable. But the environmental problems of the quarry, the air pollution from burning at the power plants and the growing slag mountains have given rise to major environmental debates, especially in the last years of the Soviet era, when the Soviet authorities planned another large power plant in Narva to secure Leningrad’s (now St. Petersburg) electricity supply. Electricity exports to Latvia and Russia have now almost ceased, electricity production has been halved and the environmental debate has been silenced in recognition of the necessity of production in the independent state.

The machinery industry contributes only one tenth of the industry’s production value, but it manufactures highly developed products in radio, television, finer lathes, measuring instruments, etc. that can compete on the world market. It is the country’s largest export sector with a share of exports of 27.5% in 2004.

Agriculture.Estonian agriculture is very much dependent on cattle breeding and the cultivation of fodder for it. 3.4% of the labor force is employed in agriculture (2004). Since the great forced collectivization in 1949, the operation has been organized into large units, collective houses, with a high degree of mechanization. After independence, privatization began, but as the agricultural industry is particularly hard hit by the transition to a new economic system, the number of private farmers is only slowly increasing. In 1939, there were 140,000 self-employed farms with an average. adjacent land of 22.7 ha. The owners of these farms and their descendants may reclaim the land; at the end of 1993 there were 10,000 private farmers with a gnsntl. area of ​​25.4 ha. In 2001, there were 69,000 private farms, but in 2003 the number was reduced to 37,000 with an average farm size of 13 ha.

In addition to privatization, there has been a division of the very large state and cooperative enterprises. The crisis in agriculture has manifested by a sharp fall in the consumption of fertilizers and a subsequent fall in hectare yields. Likewise, there has been a large decline in the cattle population, more than a halving since independence.

Trade. Estonia was a fully integrated part of the Soviet planned economy, and the majority of the country’s imports and exports were trade with other parts of the Soviet Union. Since 1991, the trade pattern has become more westerly, with Finland, Sweden and Germany as the largest trading partners, but Russia and other CIS countries remain important to the foreign economy, especially as export markets, just as Tallinn remains an important transit port for Russia. 80% of Estonian exports go to the enlarged EU (EU-25), from which 78% of the country’s imports originate (2004).


The Estonian landscape is predominantly formed by last glacial glaciers and meltwater. Most are lowlands below 100 m; Suur Munamägi in the SE, however, reaches 318 m. approximately 20% of the country is wetlands, lakes, bogs and streams. The large lake Peipsi Järv in the east is the border area common with Russia. In many places, peat is still dug for fuel and fertilizer. The coastal signs to the west are flat and swampy, while the north coast is characterized by high sandstone and limestone cliffs, especially east of Kohtla-Järve.


Estonia lies on the border between temperate coastal climate and mainland climate. The westerly winds from the Baltic Sea make the winter relatively mild with gnsntl. temperature for January of -2 °C, but easterly winds can cause ice winters, and the agricultural cultivation period is slightly shorter than in Denmark. The precipitation is fairly evenly distributed over the year, approximately 700 mm.

Plant and animal life

Estonia is located in the temperate deciduous forest belt close to the border of the coniferous forest belt and the taiga and has very large and varied forest areas. The rich wildlife includes both the deciduous forest and the taiga species with bulls, birds of prey, flying squirrels, martens, beavers, snow hares, fallow deer, red deer, moose, reindeer and an estimated 2000 lynx, 600 wolves and 800 brown bears. The wild boar population is so large that farmers have to put up protective fences around potato fields in many places. The many and nutrient-rich wetlands are the basis for a rich population of swimming and wading birds; Among other things, Estonia has many storks. There has long been a great deal of environmental and nature conservation attention, and many nature areas are protected, a total of approximately 3% of the country’s area. The small island Vilsandi west of Saaremaa(Øsel) was protected as a bird sanctuary as early as 1910, Matsalubugten in 1957, and in 1971 only 50 km east of Tallinn was inaugurated the 650 km2 large national park Lahemaa, which has a very varied nature and a rich animal and plant life.

Estonia – language

Estonian and Russian are the dominant languages ​​in Estonia. During the independence period 1918-40, Estonian was the official language of the country and was spoken by approximately 92% of the population, while the Russian-speakers only made up approximately 4.4%. During the Soviet era, conditions changed due to the massive Russian immigration, so that in 1992 the distribution was 30% Russian- and 62% Estonian-speaking. After independence, the proportion of Russian-speakers has returned and returned to 26% in 2003, while the proportion of Estonian-speakers had risen to 69%. However, the geographical distribution is skewed, as Russian-speakers still make up the majority in the cities in the NE, while, for example, virtually no one is on the islands in the West, where as early as 1990 there were approximately 900 people left with Estonian Swedish as their mother tongue. The minorities also include almost 30,000 Ukrainians and approximately 11,000 finds. A language law from 1995 made Estonian the country’s only official language; however, a minority language may be used in the region where that language is most prevalent. After independence, English has replaced Russian as the first foreign language. For culture and traditions of Estonia, please check aparentingblog.

Estonia (Religion)

A fertility cult veg in 1100-1200-t. the place of Christianity, which, however, did not immediately become dominant. The Lutheran Reformation gained traction from the 1520’s, and Estonia has largely remained evangelical to this day. Lutheranism benefited from Swedish rule, since Russian tolerance, although Russification ultimately created serious problems. The situation improved after 1918, but only to develop catastrophically after the Soviet takeover in 1944. Persecution caused the Lutheran Church to shrink from 875,000 (1939) to 175,000, of which only 50,000 were active (approximately 1980). Only the thaw in 1989 brought new flowering. In the 1990’s, the Church played an active role in Estonia’s spiritual-national reconstruction. There are also several smaller Protestant communities and an Orthodox church.

Estonia – economy

In the post – war years, Estonia was integrated into the Soviet planned economy, which meant tight control of all economic activity. Since independence in 1991, the country has implemented a market economy reform program, whereby prices and trade have been liberalized, as have a large proportion of former state-owned enterprises. The private sector accounted for about 60% of GDP in 1994.

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Estonia chose to remain outside the economic cooperation between the former Soviet republics, the CIS, which led to deteriorating trade conditions for Estonia, with regard to energy supplies from Russia. The consequence was partly a sharp rise in energy prices and partly a collapse in production in industry.

Energy problems, declining export markets and declining domestic purchasing power resulted in a severe decline in GDP in 1990-93. The economic downturn has led to a large part of the banks’ lending having been defaulted on, which has resulted in major problems and a number of crashes in the financial sector.

The official unemployment rate was only around 2% at the end of 1994, but the actual unemployment rate, which includes people on short-term work, unpaid leave, etc., was estimated at the end of 1993 to be 10-12%. The inflation rate, which in 1992 exceeded 1000%, has since come under control, as a result of tight monetary and fiscal policies.

Estonia introduced in June 1992 as the first of the Baltic countries its own currency, the kroon, which was pegged to a fixed ratio of D-mark of 8: 1; side to the euro. Since its introduction, the Crown has been freely interchangeable, which has fostered economic relations with other countries, on which Estonia is heavily dependent and constantly seeks to improve.

Among other things. Estonia signed free trade agreements with the other Baltic countries in 1994, and in 1995 it concluded an association agreement with the EU, of which it became a full member in 2004; However, rising inflation has delayed the country’s changeover to the euro by 2008.

Estonia has received large foreign investments from Finland and Germany in particular, and after a dive caused by the Russian crisis in 1998, Estonia has for several years had Europe’s highest growth rates in GDP of 5-10% per year.

The Estonian transition from the Soviet to the Western economy has been rapid and harsh, as the extensive redundancies of the privatization program have had social consequences that a tight public budget financed by ever lower and non-progressive personal taxes has not been able to mitigate to any great extent. Unemployment was estimated at 8% in 2005, and regional and income inequalities are large under European conditions. Estonia has had a trade and balance of payments deficit for a number of years.

The main trading partners in 2005 were Finland, Sweden and Germany, while Russia was gradually displaced to fourth place. In 2005, Denmark’s exports to Estonia amounted to DKK 1307 million. DKK, while imports from Estonia amounted to 1263 mill. Denmark exported machinery and equipment and imported sub-supplies to industry.

Estonia Geography