One third of Estonian immigrants don’t understand the native language

One third of Estonian residents with a migrant background aged 15-74 do not speak the official language of the country, the share of non-Estonian-speakers being the largest among citizens of Russia.

Of the immigrant population 33 percent have no knowledge of Estonian whatsoever, 18.7 percent know enough to understand daily discourse, 16.5 percent are able to converse on daily topics, 24.3 percent can speak and write Estonian, and for 7.5 percent Estonian is their mother tongue or the language they speak at home.

According to Siim Krusell, chief analyst of Statistics Estonia, there were 797,800 ethnic Estonians and 226,500 immigrants as of 2012. Of the latter, 91,000 had Estonian citizenship. Nationals of other countries number 134,700, including 66,100 Russian citizens, and persons with undefined citizenship number 59,100.

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