According to the data of the 2011 Population and Housing Census (PHC 2011), 388,077 persons or 30% of Estonian residents suffered from some long-term illness or health problem. People with higher education suffer from long-term illnesses on average two times less than persons with basic or lower education.
Men experience long-term illnesses slightly more until 30 years of age, women after 50 years of age. Since the age of 30, men living in rural areas have more long-term illnesses than those at the same age in urban areas. In case of children and young people, morbidity in long-term illnesses is relatively bigger until the age of 10, thereafter morbidity decreases significantly.
As according to the average age of the population Russians and representatives of other ethnic nationalities are older than Estonians, their morbidity is also higher than average. About 29% of Estonians, 32% of Russians and even 38% of representatives of other nationalities have health problems.
Education has an essential impact on people’s health; the risk for long-term illnesses is extremely big for persons with basic education or lower. Persons aged 20–50 with higher education have on average twice less long-term illnesses than persons with basic or lower education of the same age.
Morbidity risk dependent on education is higher for men than for women, whereas the age plays no role as there are more elderly people among women than among men. Education has bigger impact on people’s health behaviour in rural areas than in urban areas. In urban areas the morbidity of persons with basic education is 24% and in rural areas 44% bigger than the respective indicator of persons with higher education.
The healthiest people live in the counties with the youngest population – Harju and Rapla counties where less than a quarter of persons have long-term illnesses, but these counties have the least health problems restricting everyday activities. Most long-term illnesses can be found in counties near Lake Peipus – Põlva, Jõgeva and Ida-Viru counties (respectively 43%, 40% and 38% of county’s population). In these counties, but also in Võru and Valga counties health problems restrict people’s everyday activities the most; more than a fifth of the population feel very much restricted, whereas there are limitations of everyday activities due to health problems more than the average of Estonia in all social groups, incl. children and students.
Long-term illness or health problem – an illness or a health problem which had lasted for at least six months. This also includes health problems from which a person had suffered for a long time, but which had not been diagnosed by a doctor. In addition, long-term health problems include recurrent health problems, including conditions which were controlled or relieved by regular administration of medication or other treatments.
Limitations of everyday activities due to health problems – limitations due to health problems which had lasted or were expected to last for at least six months. ‘Everyday activities’ refers to working, studying, housekeeping, personal grooming, communicating with other people, recreational activities, etc. Everyday activities were considered very much restricted if the person required daily assistance, and were considered to some extent restricted if the person required assistance with some activities, but not on a daily basis.
Source: Statistics Estonia blog