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By Exit Pages > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Estonia
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Map of Estonia
IntroductionTop
Background:After centuries of Danish, Swedish, German, and Russian rule, Estonia attained independence in 1918. Forcibly incorporated into the USSR in 1940, 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.
GeographyTop
Location:Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland, between Latvia and Russia
Geographic coordinates:59 00 N, 26 00 E
Map references:Europe
Area:total: 45,226 sq km
land: 43,211 sq km
water: 2,015 sq km
note: includes 1,520 islands in the Baltic Sea

Area - comparative:slightly smaller than New Hampshire and Vermont combined
Land boundaries:total: 633 km
border countries: Latvia 339 km, Russia 294 km

Coastline:3,794 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: limits fixed in coordination with neighboring states

Climate:maritime, wet, moderate winters, cool summers
Terrain: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: 16.04%
permanent crops: 0.45%
other: 83.51% (2001)

Irrigated land:40 sq km (1998 est.)
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 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-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

Geography - note:the mainland terrain is flat, boggy, and partly wooded; offshore lie more than 1,500 islands
PeopleTop
Population:1,332,893 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 15.5% (male 106,300/female 100,446)
15-64 years: 67.7% (male 429,843/female 472,034)
65 years and over: 16.8% (male 74,037/female 150,233) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 39.06 years
male: 35.52 years
female: 42.35 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:-0.65% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:9.91 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:13.21 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:-3.18 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
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 (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 7.87 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 9.06 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 71.77 years
male: 66.28 years
female: 77.6 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:1.39 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:1.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:7,800 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality:noun: Estonian(s)
adjective: Estonian

Ethnic groups:Estonian 67.9%, Russian 25.6%, Ukrainian 2.1%, Belarusian 1.3%, Finn 0.9%, other 2.2% (2000 census)
Religions: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)
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.8% (2003 est.)

GovernmentTop
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
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 is the date Estonia declared its independence from Soviet Russia; 20 August 1991 is the date it declared its independence from the Soviet Union
Constitution:adopted 28 June 1992
Legal system:based on civil law system; no judicial review of legislative acts
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal for all Estonian citizens
Executive branch:chief of state: President Arnold RUUTEL (since 8 October 2001)
head of government: Prime Minister Andrus ANSIP (since 12 April 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister, approved by Parliament
elections: president elected by Parliament for a five-year 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 governments) elects the president, choosing between the two candidates with the largest percentage of votes; election last held 21 September 2001 (next to be held in the fall of 2006); prime minister nominated by the president and approved by Parliament
election results: Arnold RUUTEL elected president on 21 September 2001 by a 367-member electoral assembly that convened following Parliament's failure in August to elect then-President MERI's successor; on the second ballot of voting, RUUTEL received 186 votes to Parliament Speaker Toomas SAVI's 155; the remaining 26 ballots were either 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 2 March 2003 (next to be held NA March 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - Center Party 25.4%, Res Publica 24.6%, Reform Party 17.7%, Estonian People's Union 13%, Pro Patria Union (Fatherland League) 7.3% People's Party Moodukad 7%; seats by party - Center Party 28, Res Publica 28, Reform Party 19, Estonian People's Union 13, Pro Patria Union 7, People's Party Moodukad 6

Judicial branch:National Court (chairman appointed by Parliament for life)
Political parties and leaders:Center Party of Estonia (Keskerakond) [Edgar SAVISAAR, chairman]; Estonian People's Union (Rahvaliit) [Villu REILJAN, chairman]; Estonian Reform Party (Reformierakond) [Andrus ANSIP]; Estonian United Russian People's Party or EUVRP [Yevgeniy TOMBERG, chairman]; Pro Patria Union (Isamaaliit) [Tunne KELAM, chairman]; Res Publica [Juhan PARTS, chairman]; Social Democratic Party (formerly People's Party Moodukad or Moderates) [Ivari PADAR, chairman]; Social Liberals (group of 8 parliamentarians, former Center Party members) [Peeter Kreitzberg]
Political pressure groups and leaders:NA
International organization participation:Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EU (new member), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, MIGA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WEU (member affiliate), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Flag description:pre-1940 flag restored by Supreme Soviet in May 1990 - three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), black, and white
EconomyTop
Economy - overview:Estonia, as a new member of the World Trade Organization and the European Union, has transitioned effectively to a modern market economy with strong ties to the West, including the pegging of its currency to the euro. The economy benefits from strong electronics and telecommunications sectors and is greatly influenced by developments in Finland, Sweden, and Germany, three major trading partners. The current account deficit remains high; however, the state budget enjoyed a surplus of $130 million in 2003.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $19.23 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:6% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $14,300 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 4.1%
industry: 28.9%
services: 67% (2004 est.)

Labor force:660,000 (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture 11%, industry 20%, services 69% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate:9.6% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:NA (2000)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 29.8% (1998)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:37 (1999)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):3% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):28.2% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:revenues: $4.622 billion
expenditures: $4.601 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)

Public debt:5.4% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:potatoes, vegetables; livestock and dairy products; fish
Industries:engineering, electronics, wood and wood products, textile; information technology, telecommunications
Industrial production growth rate:5% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production:8.301 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 99.8%
hydro: 0.1%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0.2% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:6.358 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:1.562 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:200 million kWh (2002)
Oil - production:5,100 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:24,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Natural gas - production:0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:1.27 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:1.27 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Current account balance:$-1.169 billion (2004 est.)
Exports:$5.701 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:machinery and equipment 33%, wood and paper 15%, textiles 14%, food products 8%, furniture 7%, metals, chemical products (2001)
Exports - partners:Finland 16.6%, Sweden 11.1%, UK 8.6%, Latvia 7.4%, Germany 7.2%, Russia 6.9%, US 5.5%, Lithuania 4% (2004)
Imports:$7.318 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:machinery and equipment 33.5%, chemical products 11.6%, textiles 10.3%, foodstuffs 9.4%, transportation equipment 8.9% (2001)
Imports - partners:Finland 19.9%, Russia 13.2%, Germany 11.6%, Sweden 7.9% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$1.503 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:$8.373 billion (2004 est.)
Currency (code):Estonian kroon (EEK)
Currency code:EEK
Exchange rates:krooni per US dollar - 12.596 (2004), 13.856 (2003), 16.612 (2002), 17.478 (2001), 16.969 (2000)
Fiscal year:calendar year
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:475,000 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:881,000 (2002)
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 - only about 11,000 subscriber requests were unfilled by September 2000
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; two international switches are located in Tallinn (2001)

Radio broadcast stations:AM 0, FM 98, shortwave 0 (2001)
Radios:1.01 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:3 (2001)
Televisions:605,000 (1997)
Internet country code:.ee
Internet hosts:82,142 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):38 (2001)
Internet users:444,000 (2002)
TransportationTop
Railways:total: 958 km
broad gauge: 958 km 1.520-m/1.524-m gauge (132 km electrified) (2004)

Highways:total: 55,944 km
paved: 13,874 km (including 99 km of expressways)
unpaved: 42,070 km (2002)

Waterways:500 km (2003)
Pipelines:gas 859 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:Kopli, Kuivastu, Muuga, Tallinn, Virtsu
Merchant marine:total: 43 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 212,998 GRT/177,488 DWT
by type: cargo 17, passenger/cargo 20, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 4
foreign-owned: 6 (Norway 6)
registered in other countries: 51 (2005)

Airports:29 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 14
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 1 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 15
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 6 (2004 est.)

MilitaryTop
Military branches:Estonian Defense Forces: Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force and Air Defense Staff, Republic Security Forces (internal and border troops), Volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit), Maritime Border Guard, Coast Guard
note: Border Guards and Ministry of Internal Affairs become part of the Estonian Defense Forces in wartime; the Coast Guard is subordinate to the Ministry of Defense in peacetime and the Estonian Navy in wartime

Military manpower - military age and obligation:18 years of age for compulsory military service, with 11-month service obligation; Estonia has committed to retaining conscription for men and women up to 2010; 17 years of age for volunteers (2004)
Military manpower - availability:males age 18-49: 291,696 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 18-49: 200,382 (2005 est.)
: note - in 2004, 51% of the young men called up for service were determined to be unfit; main obstacles to conscription were psychiatric and behavioral

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:males: 11,146 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$155 million (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:2% (2002 est.)
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:in 1996, the Estonia-Russia technical border agreement was initialed but both states have been hesitant to sign and ratify it, with Russia asserting that Estonia needs to better assimilate Russian-speakers and Estonian groups pressing for realignment of the boundary based more closely on the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty that would bring the now divided ethnic Setu people and parts of the Narva region within Estonia; as a member state that forms part of the EU's external border, Estonia must implement the strict Schengen border rules
Illicit drugs:transshipment point for opiates and cannabis from Southwest Asia and the Caucasus via Russia, cocaine from Latin America to Western Europe and Scandinavia, and synthetic drugs from Western Europe to Scandinavia; increasing domestic drug abuse problem; possible precursor manufacturing and/or trafficking; potential money laundering related to organized crime and drug trafficking is a concern as is possible use of the gambling sector to launder funds



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