Estonians made 100 million digital signatures

The Estonian ID-card has now been used to give 100 million digital signatures.

A holder of an ID-card gave the 100 000 000th digital signatuure at 17:27:54 on Monday, 3 December. In one day up to 125 000 digital signatuures are given, spokespeople for the Estonian Information System Authority (RIA) said.

“One hundred million digital signatures testifies that we have entered a new phase in conducting business electronically. While several other countries are still only thinking about public e-services and the means needed for using them, we have implemented a working system,” RIA director general Jaan Priisalu said. He added that the ID-card still has potential for broader use, for example in encryption. “At a time when people and organisations move more and more confidential information over the internet, the ID-card is a very effective tool to ensure privacy,” he said.

The head of AS Sertifitseerimiskeskus (Certification Centre), Kalev Pihl, observed that the use of the ID-card for both identity authentication and digital signature has steadily increased over the past decade. “The electronic functions of the ID-card are used by around half a million people and 100 million digital signatures have been given, so it follows that these solutions are very necessary and accessible to users,” he said.

Since 2002 the ID-card has been used 164 million times for authentication of identity. Personalised data about users are pursuant to law made public only by way of exception, therefore the identity of the person who gave the 100 000 000th digital signature will not be established.

Source: Estonian Review

Top 10 Estonian startups

Based on input from Estonian startup thought leaders and investors, the weekly Estonian popular tech & startup themed radio show & podcast Restart (run by MP of the Estonian Parliament and a startup founder himself, Andrei Korobeinik) has selected the most promising Estonian startups to keep an eye on in 2013. Here is the list:

1.Transferwise – cheap money transfers. Charges a fraction of the price that banks and others charge for currency conversion. $1.3m seed round from Index Ventures, IA Ventures, Max Levchin (co-founder of PayPal), TAG, Seedcamp and others. Co-founded by Skype’s first employee. Seedcamp alumni.
2.Creative Mobile – mobile games. Hugely profitable. Drag Racing on Android has close to 100 million installs.
3.Erply – POS and ERP tools. In use at close to 100k seats. Largest customers have 10k employees. Seedcamp alumni.
4.ZeroTurnaround – Java productivity tools, loved by developers.
5.Marinexplore – marine data place for the ocean community. Only one in top 10 started in 2012. Raised $1.4m from Intertrust Technologies Corporation, Fredrik Astrup, Lars Erik Baustad, Marek Kiisa (Astrec Invest) and Ivar Siimar (WNB).
6.Grabcad – community of mechanical engineers & engineering workflow tools. $14 million raised from Charles River Ventures, Yammer’s David Sacks, Atlas Venture, Matrix Partners et al. Seedcamp and Techstars alumni.
7.Pipedrive – CRM and pipeline management tool. $1 m raised from TMT Investments, Andy McLoughlin, Christopher Muenchhoff and Angelpad. AngelPad alumni.
8.Vital Fields – farming weather forecasts. $318k from Estonian Development Fund et al. StartupWiseGuys alumni.
9.Flirtic.com – dating service.
10.Click and Grow – a self-watering flower pot. Over 80k units sold.

Read more from Jüri Kaljundi blog

Apartment prices in Tallinn are increasing

According to Statistics Estonia, in the 3rd quarter of 2012 the Dwelling Price Index changed by 2.5 % compared to the 2nd quarter and by 8.4% compared to the 3rd quarter of the previous year.

In the 3rd quarter compared to the previous quarter, the index of apartments increased by 1.7% and the index of houses by 4.5%. Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2011, the square metre prices of apartments have increased by 6.0% and of houses by 13.7%.

Compared to the same quarter of the previous year the apartments square metre prices increased in Tallinn by 8.8%, in areas bordering Tallinn and in Tartu and Pärnu cities by 9.2% but decreased in the rest of Estonia by 13.3%.

Compared to the 2nd quarter the apartments square metre prices increased in Tallinn by 2.7%, in areas bordering Tallinn and in Tartu and Pärnu cities by 3.1% and decreased in the rest of Estonia by 6.4%.

The Dwelling Price Index expresses the changes in the transaction square metre prices of dwellings purchased by households. The Dwelling Price Indices have been compiled for apartments and houses (including detached, semi-detached and terraced houses). To compile these indices, Estonia is geographically divided into three parts: Tallinn; the areas bordering Tallinn and Tartu and Pärnu cities; and the rest of Estonia (without the aforementioned districts).

The Dwelling Price Index is published on the base 2010 = 100. The time series start from the 1st quarter of 2005. The annual index is calculated as the average of four quarters.

Dwelling Price Index, 1st quarter 2005 – 3rd quarter 2012 (2010 = 100)

Diagramm: Dwelling Price Index, 1st quarter 2005 – 3rd quarter 2012

Source: Statistics Estonia

Bear population spreads into Western Estonia

While six years ago there were no litters of bear cubs in Estonia’s Lääne County, this year four females with cubs were counted there, the daily Eesti Päevaleht reported.

Peep Männil from the game monitoring centre of the Environmental Information Centre said that growth in the bear population could be noticed both in Lääne County and in the western areas of Harju County. “This was apparently due to hunting. Hunting pressure has been modest until the present and no adult female bears have been shot there,” he said.

In accordance with the recent population assessment, there are 650 to 700 bears living in Estonian forests. In the previous hunting season 53 bears were shot in Estonia and this year the number of bears shot was 55.

The development plan of the protection and restraint of large carnivores foresees keeping the bear population at a level of at least 60 litters with cubs and 600 individuals.

Source: Estonian Review

Every sixth person in Estonia is in relative poverty

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2011, 17.5% of the Estonian population lived in relative poverty. The overall percentage of people living in relative poverty stayed on the same level compared to the previous year, but the income of the population increased.

In 2011, the income of the population increased and the yearly average unemployment decreased. Social transfers (state benefits and pensions) helped to prevent the fall in poverty, as they were not included in income, the at-risk-of-poverty rate was even 40.1% in 2011 (in 2010 – 41.1%).

In 2011, a person was considered to be at-risk-of-poverty if his/her monthly equalised disposable income was below 299 euros (in 2010 – 280 euros). Compared to 2010, people’s incomes increased. This caused the rise of at-risk-of-poverty threshold by nineteen euros. In 2011, the difference in income between the poorest and richest fifth of the population was 5.4-fold.

Compared to the previous year, it can be noticed that the percentage of younger people who are living in relative poverty is decreasing, and that of persons aged 65 and older – increasing. In 2011, 21% of persons aged 18–24 and 17% of persons aged 65 and more lived in relative poverty (in 2010 – 22% and 13%, respectively). The important reason is the decreasing unemployment rate of younger age groups.

By type of household, the at-risk-of-poverty rate has increased the most in households of a single person aged 65 and over (by 9.8 percentage points) and decreased in households of a couple with three or more children (by 4.2 percentage points).

By regions, for the residents in Northeastern Estonia the at-risk-of-poverty rate was nearly three times higher than for the residents in Northern Estonia. Similarly, the poverty risk for people living in rural settlements is significantly higher than for people living in urban settlements.

The level of education significantly affects the remaining in risk of poverty. Of persons with basic or lower education every third was in the poorest and only every fifteenth was in the richest income quintile. At the same time one third of people with higher education belonged to the richest fifth. Therefore, the at-risk-of-poverty rate of persons with higher education (8.7%) was more than three times smaller than of persons with basic or lower education (26.6%). Higher level of education is an important presumption for the prevention of poverty.

More detailed information can be found  (only in Estonian).

The estimations are based on the Social Survey, which has been conducted by Statistics Estonia since 2004. In 2012, more than 5,400 households participated in the survey. The survey collects data about yearly income, which is the reason why the survey of 2012 asks for data about incomes in 2011. The yearly income is necessary for calculating the indicators of poverty and inequality. Social surveys are conducted by statistical organisations in all European Union countries on the basis of harmonised methodology by the name of EU-SILC. Eurostat publishes the data according to the year of conducting the survey, thus Eurostat’s news release on relative poverty for 2011 published on 03.12.2012 included the indicators of relative poverty in Estonia calculated on the basis of incomes of the year 2010 ().

At-risk-of-poverty rate is the share of persons with yearly disposable income lower than the at-risk-of-poverty threshold. At-risk-of-poverty threshold is 60% of the median yearly disposable income of household members. Equalised disposable income is the total household income, which is divided by the sum of equivalence scales of all household members.

Source: Statistics Estonia

40.9 pct of the Estonian population is economically inactive

According to the data of the 2011 Population and Housing Census (PHC 2011), most of the Estonian residents are employees. 3.8% of the persons aged 15 and over are self-employed.

As at 31 December 2011, the population aged 15 and over accounted for 84.6% of the 1,294,455 permanent residents of Estonia. Among them, the share of economically active persons was 57% (630,101 persons). Employees accounted for 46.7%, self-employed persons for 3.8% and other employed persons (incl. persons in compulsory military or community service) for 0.8% of the population aged 15 and over.

The census shows that the level of economic activity is higher among the urban population and lower among the rural population. “There are more employees in cities than in rural areas. At the same time, there are slightly more self-employed persons in rural settlements,” said Ms Diana Beltadze, Project Manager of the 2011 Population and Housing Census.

Beltadze added that the share of self-employed persons is higher in Harju county (4.4%), and their share is also above the average in Saare, Hiiu and Pärnu counties (4.1% in each). Among local government units, the share of self-employed persons is the highest in Vormsi (8.9%), Kihnu (8.6%) and Viimsi (8.3%) rural municipalities. Self-employed persons without employees dominate in rural settlements.

As at 31 December 2011, the total number of economically inactive persons aged 15 and over was 447,774 – which is 40.9% of the population. The biggest groups of inactive persons are retired persons (287,450) and students (81,639).

The share of inactive persons is the highest in Jõgeva, Viljandi, Valga, Põlva and Võru counties, and the lowest in Harju county. The share of retired persons in the population is the biggest in Põlva county and the smallest in Harju and Tartu counties.

Economically active population – persons aged 15 and over who were employed or unemployed in the week preceding the census (19–25 December 2011). Persons in compulsory military or community service are included among employed persons.

The results of PHC 2011 regarding the employment and socio-economic status of the population can be found in Statistics Estonia’s database. The results of PHC 2011 will be published over the course of 2012 and 2013. The schedule of publication can be found at www.REL2011.ee.

The 11th population census in Estonia was conducted from 31 December 2011 until 31 March 2012. Previous censuses were carried out in 1881, 1897, 1922, 1934, 1941, 1959, 1970, 1979, 1989 and 2000. The next population census will be conducted in Estonia in 2020/2021.

Source: Statistics Estonia

25,000 Estonians work abroad

According to the data of the 2011 Population and Housing Census (PHC 2011), 24,907 permanent residents of Estonia – 4.4% of all employed persons – go to work abroad. 28,984 residents work outside their county of residence.

“Compared to the previous census, one of the biggest changes has occurred in the number of residents working abroad. This number has increased almost tenfold since the previous census,” said Ms Diana Beltadze, Project Manager of the 2011 Population and Housing Census. According to the 2000 census, 2,646 residents were working abroad.

According to PHC 2011, 15,140 permanent residents of Estonia work in Finland, 1,872 in Norway, 1,532 in Sweden, 1,357 in Russia, 732 in the United Kingdom and 616 in Germany. “61% of the Estonian residents working abroad work in Finland. The share of residents working in Finland is the biggest in Jõgeva, Viljandi and Pärnu counties,” said Ms Beltadze. Russia is an important labour migration destination for residents of Ida-Viru county (especially Narva city), while Sweden is a major destination mainly for the employed persons of Hiiu county.

Two pull centres

In case of internal labour migration, the main pull centres are Harju county (incl. Tallinn city) and Tartu county (incl. Tartu city), which have positive net labour migration. In most counties, almost 80% of the employed persons have found work in their home county. Rapla county has the biggest share of residents working outside their home county.

Harju county is the primary labour migration destination for employed persons residing in Rapla county (25.40%), Lääne county (9.68%), Järva county (8.07%), Lääne-Viru county (6.57%), Pärnu county (3.95%), Saare county (3.80%), Ida-Viru county (3.44%) and Viljandi county (3.43%).

Tartu county is the primary labour migration destination for the residents of Jõgeva county (9.73%), Põlva county (9.68%), Valga county (7.26%) and Võru county (2.82%).

Map 1. Ten biggest labour migration flows according to PHC 2011

Map: Labour migration

The results of PHC 2011 regarding the labour migration of the population can be found in Statistics Estonia’s database. The results of PHC 2011 will be published over the course of 2012 and 2013. The schedule of publication can be found at www.REL2011.ee.

The 11th population census in Estonia was conducted from 31 December 2011 until 31 March 2012. Previous censuses were carried out in 1881, 1897, 1922, 1934, 1941, 1959, 1970, 1979, 1989 and 2000. The next population census will be conducted in Estonia in 2020/2021.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Estonians will enjoy Swiss trains worth 96 MEUR

The Estonian passenger operaator Elektriraudtee AS (Electric Railway) and the Swiss train manufacturer Stadler Bussnang AG presented the first two units of the major order of diesel and electric trains placed with Stadler by Estonia.

Elektriraudtee said that the trains, designed for the climatic conditions of Estonia, will enter operation in June 2013. Both units have a top speed of 160 kilometers per hour.

The public tender of Elektriraudtee to buy 18 electric and 20 diesel trains was announced in 2009 and contracts with the winning bidder were signed in August 2010.

The electric trains cost approximately 80 million euros, 85% of which is provided by the EU Cohension Fund. The diesel trains cost 96 million euros and will go to Elektriraudtee under a capital lease arrangement.

Under the government’s decision the state-owned Elektriraudtee, currently the operator of electric shuttle trains to and from Tallinn, will provide passenger service all over Estonia starting from 2014.

Source: Estonian Review

The population of Estonia is concentrated around larger cities

According to the final results of the 2011 Population and Housing Census (PHC 2011), 1,294,455 permanent residents were enumerated in Estonia. The census results indicate the continued concentration of the population around major cities.

Compared to the previous census of 2000, the population of Estonia has decreased by 75,597 persons, i.e. by 5.5%. The population has grown only in Harju and Tartu counties.

“Among local government units, population increase has been the biggest in the rural municipalities around Tallinn city – in some of these municipalities, the number of inhabitants has doubled compared to the previous census,” said Ms Diana Beltadze, Project Manager of the 2011 Population and Housing Census.

For example, the population has increased to 18,533 in Viimsi rural municipality (7,978 in 2000), to 15,721 in Rae rural municipality (7,979 in 2000), and to 14,181 in Harku rural municipality (6,617 in 2000).

There has also been a significant increase in population in some rural municipalities around Tartu city (from 4,780 to 7,751 in Ülenurme rural municipality and from 5,121 to 6,991 in Tartu rural municipality) and around Pärnu city (from 2,535 to 4,474 in Sauga rural).

Map 1. Relative population change in local government units, 2000–2011

Map 1. Relative population change in local government units, 2000–2011

Estonian cities are shrinking

There are only three cities in Estonia (excl. cities without municipal status) where the population has increased between the two censuses: Saue (11.2%), Maardu (4.7%) and Keila (4%). In the remaining cities, the population has decreased. Compared to 2000, the decrease in population has been the biggest in smaller cities.

Cities
2000
2011
change
%
Saue
4,958
5,514
556
11.2
Maardu
16,738
17,524
786
4.7
Keila
9,388
9,763
375
4
Tallinn
400,378
393,222
–7,156
–1.8
Sindi
4,179
4,076
–103
–2.5
Tartu
101,169
97,600
–3,569
–3.5
Paldiski
4,248
4,085
–163
–3.8
Elva
6,020
5,607
–413
–6.9
Rakvere
17,097
15,264
–1,833
–10.7
Põlva
6,467
5,767
–700
–10.8
Kuressaare
14,925
13,166
–1,759
–11.8
Narva-Jõesuu
2,983
2,632
–351
–11.8
Kunda
3,899
3,422
–477
–12.2
Pärnu
45,500
39,728
–5,772
–12.7
Põltsamaa
4,849
4,188
–661
–13.6
Jõgeva
6,420
5,501
–919
–14.3
Valga
14,323
12,261
–2062
–14.4
Narva
68,680
58,663
–10,017
–14.6
Paide
9,642
8,228
–1,414
–14.7
Tõrva
3,201
2,729
–472
–14.7
Võru
14,879
12,667
–2,212
–14.9
Haapsalu
12,054
10,251
–1,803
–15
Viljandi
20,756
17,473
–3,283
–15.8
Sillamäe
17,199
14,252
–2,947
–17.1
Võhma
1,596
1,314
–282
–17.7
Kärdla
3,773
3,050
–723
–19.2
Loksa
3,494
2,759
–735
–21
Kohtla-Järve
47,679
37,201
–10,478
–22
Mustvee
1,753
1,358
–395
–22.5
Kiviõli
7,405
5,634
–1,771
–23.9
Mõisaküla
1,165
825
–340
–29.2
Kallaste
1,211
852
–359
–29.6
Püssi
1,872
1,083
–789
–42.1

The shares of the urban and rural population have not changed much since the 2000 census. According to 2011 data, 67.9% of the population lives in urban settlements (incl. cities, cities without municipal status and towns). In 2000, 69.2% of the population of Estonia lived in urban settlements.

Of the 4,438 villages in Estonia, 12 have more than 1,000 residents and 645 have 100–999 residents. Most of the villages (3,781) are inhabited by less than 100 persons, and 327 villages have less than three permanent residents. There were 102 villages with no permanent residents. 

Several big villages have developed in areas close to cities. The villages with the biggest population are: Peetri – 4,435 (Harju county), Muraste – 1,698 (Harju county), Randvere – 1,690 (Harju county), Vahi – 1,620 (Tartu county), Alliku – 1,575 (Harju county), Tammiste – 1,562 (Pärnu county), Pärnamäe – 1,556 (Harju county), Lohkva – 1,288 (Tartu county), Püünsi – 1,256 (Harju county), and Papsaare – 1,028 (Pärnu county).

Average age has increased

Compared to the previous census, the average age of the Estonian residents has increased. The 5.5-year increase in life expectancy between 2000 and 2011 is considered the main reason for this. In 2000, the average age was 38.7 years, whereas in 2011 it was 40.8 years. The average age of men is 37.7 years (35.9 in 2000) and the average age of women is 43.4 years (41.1. in 2000).

The residents of Harju and Tartu counties are younger than the average, with their respective average ages being 36.3 and 38.1 years. The residents’ average age is the highest in Piirissaare (63.1 years) and Alajõe (53.9 years) rural municipalities.

The results of PHC 2011 regarding the age-sex distribution of the population in local government units can be found in Statistics Estonia’s database. The results of PHC 2011 will be published over the course of 2012 and 2013. The schedule of publication can be found at www.REL2011.ee.

The 11th population census in Estonia was conducted from 31 December 2011 until 31 March 2012. Previous censuses were carried out in 1881, 1897, 1922, 1934, 1941, 1959, 1970, 1979, 1989 and 2000. The next population census will be conducted in Estonia in 2020/2021.

See a larger map at Statistics Estonia website

In October the foreign trade deficit increased significantly

According to Statistics Estonia, in October 2012, exports from Estonia amounted to 1.1 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 1.3 billion euros at current prices. Both, the turnover of exports as well as imports, were record high, at the same time the trade deficit increased.

In October 2012 compared to October of the previous year, exports of goods from Estonia increased by 10% and imports to Estonia by 21%. Due to the faster growth in imports than in exports, the trade deficit also increased significantly. The trade deficit was registered as 152 million euros which is nearly five times bigger than in October of the previous year. In monthly basis, Estonia’s trade deficit was last bigger in March 2010, when it was 179 million euros.

In October, in Estonia’s exports the biggest share was held by machinery and equipment (28% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by agricultural products and food preparations (16%) and mineral fuels (incl. motor spirits, shale oils and electricity – 10%). The increase in exports compared to October 2011 was mainly influenced by the increase in the dispatches of machinery and equipment (up by 28%). Dispatches of agricultural products and food preparations also increased significantly (up by 62%, mainly influenced by cereals, incl. barley and wheat). At the same time, exports of mineral fuels decreased (down by 26%).

In October the biggest share of Estonia’s imports was held by machinery and equipment (33% of Estonia’s total imports), followed by mineral fuels (11%) and agricultural products and food preparations (10%). There was a significant increase in the arrivals of machinery and equipment (up by 51%) compared to October of the previous year. At the same time the arrivals of mineral fuels decreased (down by 22%).

The biggest share of commodities was exported to Sweden (16% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by Finland (15%) and Russia (11%). Compared to October 2011, the increase in total exports was mostly influenced by the increase in the dispatches to Sweden and Germany (up by 37% and 50%, respectively). At the same time, exports to the Netherlands and USA decreased. Electrical equipment and wood were the main commodities exported to Sweden; electrical equipment and furniture to Finland and mechanical equipment and organic chemicals to Russia. Exports to Germany increased due to the increase in the dispatches of cereals.

The main countries of consignment were Finland (13% of Estonia’s total imports), Sweden (11%) and Germany (10%). The increase in the total imports was mostly influenced by the increase in the arrivals from Norway and Sweden (up by 9 times and 43%, respectively). At the same time, imports from Russia decreased by nearly a third. Fuels and electrical equipment were the main commodities imported from Finland, electrical equipment and transport equipment from Sweden and transport equipment and mechanical equipment from Germany. Imports from Norway increased mainly due to the increase in the arrivals of electric conductors.

Compared to September 2012, exports increased by 2% and imports by 12%. Exports increased due to the increase in the dispatches of agricultural products and food preparations (incl. cereals), and imports due to the increase in the arrivals of machinery and equipment.

The economic sentiment indicator, which reflects Estonia’s entrepreneurs’ and consumers’ confidence, deteriorated in October as well as in November. According to Eurostat data, in November the same indicator deteriorated also in Sweden, but improved in Finland and Germany.

Estonia’s trade, 2010–2012

Diagram: Estonia’s trade, 2010–2012

Read more from Statistics Estonia