How satisfied are people with their lives

“Overall, how satisfied are you with your life these days?” people across the European Union (EU) were asked. Life satisfaction represents how a respondent evaluates or appraises his or her life taken as a whole. It has a prominent role as it can be regarded as a key indicator of subjective well-being. On a scale from 0 (“not satisfied at all”) to 10 (“fully satisfied”), nearly 80% of residents aged 16 and over in the EU rated their overall life satisfaction in 2013 at 6 and higher, with an average (mean) satisfaction of 7.1.

In 2013, mean life satisfaction, measured on a scale of 0 to 10, varied significantly between EU Member States. With an overall average of 8.0, inhabitants in Denmark, Finland and Sweden were the most satisfied with their lives in the EU, followed by those in the Netherlands and Austria (both 7.8). At the opposite end of the scale, residents in Bulgaria (4.8) were by far the least satisfied, followed by those in Greece, Cyprus, Hungary and Portugal (all 6.2).

Baltic countries had the same satisfaction rate within 6,5-6,7.

life satisfaction

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Every fifth person in Estonia lives in relative poverty

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2013, 22.1% of the Estonian population lived in relative poverty and 8% of the Estonian population lived in absolute poverty.

Social transfers (state benefits and pensions) helped to prevent falling into poverty, as had they not been included in income, the at-risk-of-poverty rate would have even been 40.7% and the absolute poverty rate 32.6%.

In 2013, a person was considered to be in at-risk-of poverty if his/her monthly equalised disposable income was below 358 euros and in absolute poverty if his/her monthly equalised disposable income was below 205 euros. In 2013, the difference in income between the poorest and richest fifth of the population was 6.6-fold.

The at-risk-of-poverty rate is highest in the case of elderly people. In 2013, 32% of persons aged 65 and over lived in relative poverty. The absolute poverty rate is highest in the case of children and young people (aged 0–24) and in the case of pre-retirement age people (aged 50–64) (10% in both age groups).

The level of education significantly affects the risk of falling into poverty. Among persons with basic or lower education, every third was in the poorest and only every twelfth 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 and absolute poverty rates of persons with higher education (14.6% and 4.1%, respectively) were more than two times lower than those of persons with basic or lower education (33% and 10.4%, respectively). A higher level of education is an important prerequisite for the prevention of poverty.

The incomes of Estonians were higher than those of non-Estonians and the risk of poverty was lower for Estonians. In 2013, the at-risk-of-poverty rate of Estonians was nine percentage points lower than that of non-Estonians and the absolute poverty rate four percentage points lower. 19.5% of Estonians lived in relative poverty and 6.8% in absolute poverty, the same indicators for non-Estonians were 28.6% and 11%.

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

The estimations are based on the Social Survey, which has been conducted by Statistics Estonia since 2004. In 2014, more than 5,800 households participated in the survey. The survey collects data about the yearly income, which is the reason why the survey of 2014 asks about the income of 2013. The yearly income is necessary for calculating the indicators of poverty and inequality. In the case of the income of 2013, the data source changed – in addition to the Social Survey and previously used databases, the data of the Tax and Customs Board were also used.

Social surveys are conducted by national statistical offices in all European Union countries on the basis of a harmonized methodology under the name of EU-SILC.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Third of Russian-language school students failed to reach required Estonian level

A study by the Ministry of Education found that a third of pupils at Russian-language primary schools in Estonia fail to reach B1.

That means a third of students do not have a sufficient command of Estonian to study in Estonian on the secondary-school level.

The ministry is planning to spend 11 million euros from 2015-2020 on fixing the problem with a number of projects launched. These include better training for teachers, renewing study material, additional help for schools lagging behind, student exchange programs and organizing common events with ethnic Estonian pupils and summer language camps and courses.

“The Estonian language is a social skill which all students have to master already by the end of primary school (up to and including 9th grade). The skill is needed to provide young people the ability to compete on the job market and wide possibilities to continue studies,” Education Minister Jevgeni Ossinovski said.

Source: ERR News

‘Tangerines’ nominated for an Oscar

The Estonian-Georgian movie, “Tangerines” (“Mandariinid” in Estonian), has been nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film category for the 87th Academy Awards.

The film was shortlisted in December, being one of nine of the initial 83 canditates in its category. The shortlist of five nominees was selected by specially invited committees in New York, Los Angeles and London.

“Tangerines” has become one of the most successful film involving Estonian filmmakers, notching up tens of international awards since 2013. It was also nominated for a Golden Globe for the best foreign language film.

The movie tells a story that takes place in 1992 during the war in Abkhazia in an Estonian village that was situated there. In the village, whose residents have fled from war, injured fighters from two opposite sides of the battle front happen to all be staying in the same house of an Estonian elder. The leading roles are played by Estonian actors Lembit Ulfsak and Elmo Nüganen, and Georgian actors Giorgi Nakhashidze and Mihhail Meskhi. The film was produced by an Estonian film producer Ivo Felt.

The film was produced by Estonian film production company Allfilm and Georgian production company Cinema 24.

The Oscars gala will be held on 22 February at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

Prior to the Oscar nominations ceremony, Felt and the rest of the crew remained realistic in their hopes for an Oscar nomination. “The chances are slim, but they are there,” he said.

Following the announcement, Felt told that they are all very happy, but as ever, remained modest when asked about the chances of taking home the coveted golden statue. “Nonetheless, it is nice to be among such a strong company of films,” he said.

The international success of “Tangerines” is unprecedented in Estonian cultural history.

The other nominees for the Best Foreign Language Film are:

  • “Ida” by Paweł Pawlikowski (Poland)
  • “Leviathan” by Andrey Zvyagintsev (Russia)
  • “Timbuktu” by Abderrahmane Sissako (Mauritania)
  • “Wild Tales” by Damián Szifrón (Argentina)

Source: ERR News

650 households with both parents working abroad

If a single mother decides to go work in Finland and leave her kids behind in Estonia, she’s not required to notify the authorities. Only if and when a child gets into trouble do the police and social workers learn about the situation. A new study has now shed light on how many such children are living in Estonia and what effect this has on them.

The study, titled “Families with parents working abroad and children living in Estonia: Best practices and potential threats”, was commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and conducted by the University of Tartu’s Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS). It focused on families where both parents or a single parent works abroad and the children live in Estonia. The number of such families is estimated at around 650. They are most often families with a single mother.

The majority of the interviewed parents work in the Nordic countries, most often in Finland. However, Russian-speakers and people from other ethnic minorities are more likely to be in employment in Russia.

Such commuting parents tend to be 35-44 years of age. They usually have a high school education, although many also hold higher degrees. They are usually skilled or manual laborers, but the high number of specialists is also noteworthy. The largest number are employed in the building industry (18.6 percent), followed by administration and support services (15.1 percent) and the manufacturing industry (10.2 percent). The survey also showed that people most often choose to work abroad for financial reasons.

The survey results show that children whose parents are working abroad are less satisfied with their lives than those children whose parents stay at home. The study also confirmed that the absence of the mother causes stronger emotional reactions than the absence of the father. The children feel more lonely than their peers, feelings of abandonment, lack of security and low self-esteem are frequent.

At the same time, it was revealed that prolonged separation can also have some positive effects. Relations between the parents and their children can improve as more value is placed on the time spent together.

According to the latest census (2011), 24,907 Estonian citizens work abroad.

Source: ERR News

Too few married couples in Estonia

A comparative analysis done by Statistics Estonia shows that only 39 percent of marriageable age Estonians are married. This is the lowest figure in the EU.

In Estonia, roughly 50 percent of couples who live together are married. In Cyprus, Greece and Malta, for instance, this figure is around 80 percent.

Researchers have noted that marriage is generally more popular in the tradition-loving southern European countries, whereas northern Europe stands out as a hotbed of non-traditional cohabitation forms. The statistics also show that the popularity of marriage is directly linked to the spread of religion in a country.

According to the analysis, every fourth single-family household in Estonia consists of an unmarried couple. The number of cohabiting couples is higher only in Sweden (27 percent).

The need to protect the children born to such families and other family members is what led the government to pass the cohabitation bill last fall.

In addition to cohabiting couples, Estonia also stands out for single parents. One in five Estonian families is made up of a single mother and her children. Only Latvia has a higher number of single mothers (28 percent).

Estonia also ranks high for the number of divorcees. According to the last census, 14 percent of over-15 year-olds are divorced and have not remarried. Once again, only in Latvia is this figure even higher.

Psychologist and family therapist Sirje Agan said that nowadays people value a good and happy relationship over a marriage certificate. “In the past, people lived in larger communities and the support network was not limited to one’s partner. Today, the partner tends to be the primary supporter a person has. Families are small, hence, the quality of the relationship is of utmost importance. People spend more time deliberating on their life together and the state of the relationship,” she said.

Source: ERR News

The population of Estonia is 1,312,300

According to the initial estimates of Statistics Estonia, the population number of Estonia as at 1 January 2015 was 1,312,300, which is 3,600 persons less than at the same time a year ago.

The population decreased by 1,900 due to negative natural increase (the number of deaths exceeded the number of births) and by 1,700 due to negative net migration (more persons emigrated from than immigrated to Estonia). In total, the population of Estonia decreased by 0.3% in 2014. In the last few years, the population decline has slowed down.

According to initial data, nearly 13,700 children were born in Estonia in 2014, which is a few hundred children more than in 2013. Considering that the number of women in childbearing age has decreased, there were more children born per woman in 2014 than the year before, according to preliminary estimates. There were 15,500 deaths in 2014. The number of deaths has remained at this level for five years in a row, varying by just +/-300.

In 2014, both immigration and emigration decreased. 2,900 persons immigrated to and 4,600 persons emigrated from Estonia in 2014. According to Statistics Estonia’s population projection, external migration will start to decrease in the next few years along with a fall in the number of persons most likely to migrate (20–39-year-olds). However, it is too early to say, based on the initial data, whether the indicators for 2014 mean a change in the current external migration trends.Diagram: Population change, 2000–2014

Population statistics are based on the population number of the 2011 population census, which has been adjusted for under-coverage. This number is adjusted annually with the data on registered vital events – births, deaths and changes of residence (migration). Starting from the 2000 population census, under-coverage has been added to the enumerated persons in population statistics. The period between the two last censuses has also been adjusted taking into account unregistered migration.

The initial population number is based on initial data on births, deaths and migration. Statistics Estonia will publish the revised population number on 5 May 2015.

Source: Statistics Estonia

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