Every fifth person in Estonia lives in relative poverty

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2014, 21.6% of the Estonian population lived in relative poverty and 6.3% in absolute poverty. The overall percentage of people living in relative poverty decreased 0.5 percentage points compared to the previous year, the percentage of people living in absolute poverty decreased 1.7 percentage points.

In 2014, the income of the population increased and income inequality slightly decreased. 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 been 39.4% and the absolute poverty rate – 28.6%.

In 2014, a person was considered to be at-risk-of-poverty if his/her monthly equalised disposable income was below 394 euros (358 euros in 2013) and in absolute poverty if his/her monthly equalised disposable income was below 203 euros (205 euros in 2013). In 2014, the difference in income between the poorest and richest fifth of the population was 6.2-fold.

Compared to 2013, the at-risk-of-poverty rate has decreased in the case of people aged 18–64, but in the case of persons aged 65 and over, the at-risk-of-poverty rate has increased. In 2014, 36% of  persons aged 65 and over lived in relative poverty (32% in 2013). In 2014, a fifth of children under 18 lived in relative poverty as before, while the absolute poverty rate of children has slightly decreased (10% in 2013 and 9% in 2014).

The level of education significantly affects the risk of falling into poverty. Among persons with basic education or lower, every third was in the poorest and only every fourteenth 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 (12.9% and 2.8%, respectively) were almost three times smaller than those of persons with basic education or lower (36% and 8.6%, respectively). A higher level of education is an important prerequisite for the prevention of poverty.

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

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 2015, more than 5,700 households participated in the survey. The survey collects data about the yearly income, which is the reason why the survey of 2015 asks about the income of 2014. 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 a harmonised methodology by the name of EU-SILC.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Knowledge of the Estonian language is required from taxy drivers

The government here on Thursday gave its nod to a proposal that would put off by one year the start of the application of the requirement for taxi drivers to have B1 proficiency level in Estonian language.

The government decided to support in principle a bill of amendment of the Public Transport Act initiated by MPs Deniss Borodits and Urve Palo that would allow persons not having a service provider card to work as taxi drivers until April 1, 2017, spokespeople for the government said.

Under the valid Public Transport Act, a person providing the taxi service must have a service provider card, which is issued to persons having a valid right to drive at least a category B power-driven vehicle, who have completed a taxi driver training course, have at least level B1 proficiency in Estonian, and comply with the requirement of good repute. Under the now valid law the service provider card becomes mandatory from April 1, 2016.

Borodits told BNS postponement of the requirement to have a service provider card was necessary because during the period left until April 1 not all taxi drivers will be able to obtain such a card.

The government did not back a bill of the opposition Center Party calling for a gradual introduction of the language requirement.

Critics of the law say that in the Russian-speaking north-eastern border city Narva, for instance, most taxi drivers will become not eligible for their job when the requirement takes effect.

A complaint over this has been filed with the European Commission by MEP Yana Toom from the Estonian Center Party.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

13,973 births and 15,389 deaths in 2015

Altogether 13,973 births and 15,389 deaths were registered by branches of the vital statistics office across Estonia during 2015.

Of the children born, boys numbered 7,170 and girls 6,803.

Births numbered 5,249 in Tallinn, 1,680 in Harju county, 60 in Hiiu county, 1,203 in East-Viru county, 265 in Jõgeva county, 267 in Järva county, 209 in Lääne county, 576 in West-Viru county, 212 in Põlva county, 820 in Pärnu county, 290 in Rapla county, 289 in Saare county, 1,853 in Tartu county, 261 in Valga county, 448 in Viljandi county and 291 in Võru county.

The names most often given to boys were Rasmus, Robin, Oliver, Artjom, Maksim, Robert, Martin, Kaspar, Oskar and Henri.

The most popular girl’s names were Sofia, Eliise, Maria, Sandra, Laura, Mia, Alisa, Milana, Lenna ja Polina.

The number of marriages concluded was 6,429 and of marriages divorced 2,691. Persons changing their name opted for a new first name on 262 occasions, for a new surname on 1,526 occasions and for both on 153 occasions.

In 2014, 13,692 births and 15,533 deaths were registered in Estonia. The respective figures for 2013 were 13,831 and 15,474.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

The population of Estonia decreased last year

According to the initial estimates of Statistics Estonia, the population number of Estonia as at 1 January 2016 was 1,311,800, which is 1,500 persons fewer than at the same time a year ago.

The population decreased by 1,400 due to negative natural increase (the number of deaths exceeded the number of births) and by 100 due to negative net migration (more persons emigrated from than immigrated to Estonia). In total, the population of Estonia decreased by 0.1% in 2015. The previous time the population decreased by less than 2,000 persons was 6 years ago but back then the main reason for this was the elevated natural increase. In 2015, net external migration was at its highest level since the restoration of independence in Estonia.

According to initial data, nearly 14,000 children were born in Estonia in 2015, which is nearly 400 children more than in 2014. Considering that the number of women in childbearing age has decreased, there were more children born per woman in 2015 than the year before, according to preliminary estimates. There were 15,400 deaths in 2015. The number of deaths has remained at this level for five years in a row, varying by just +/-100. As the population is ageing and the number of elderly persons increases year after year, it can be presumed that life expectancy will continue to increase.

In 2015, 6,600 persons immigrated to and 6,700 persons emigrated from Estonia, according to preliminary estimates. Based on those figures, it can be said that the Estonian foreign migration was balanced. Migration statistics are most difficult to estimate based on preliminary data, as Statistics Estonia supplements migration figures with data from additional sources and reaching the final result is more complicated compared to other events, both technically and methodologically. The current result is based on the changes in place of residence which were registered in the Population Register in 2015. Here, in the case of immigration, the previous place of residence, and in the case of emigration, the new place of residence is in a foreign country. Persons who have been issued a residence permit in 2015 for at least a year and whose country of origin is unknown as of yet have been added to these data.Diagram: Population change, 2000–2015

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 4 May 2016 and the revised migration data on 25 May 2016.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Estonia is the first to legislate the storage of digital source materials of publications and films

The Government approved the draft Legal Deposit Act, which Minister of Culture Indrek Saar submitted to the Government, and handed it over to the Riigikogu today, on 10 December. The draft legislation aims to update the submission, collection, and storage of publications significant to the Estonian Culture. The draft legislation takes into account future digital developments and covers publications regardless of their form and means of distribution.

Minister of Culture Indrek Saar said that the draft Legal Deposit Act is indeed groundbreaking and serves an example to other countries, because it creates a new approach to the national storage of publications. There will be a favourable ground for savings and cooperation in the public sector as well as the private sector, and also creates an opportunity to develop innovative future services. “Estonia as a pioneer in the digital field has started to regulate the storage of digital source materials of publications and films and making them available by law, as well as established the basis for useful mutual cooperation between the state and the private sector. This means that it is no longer necessary to separately digitise publications and films that will be published from 2017, because digital source materials will be handed over together with the completed publication,” Saar confirmed.

For the readers, the key improvement is the improved accessibility of digital information due to computer terminals that will be established in five major libraries. The computer terminals provide the readers with an opportunity to study a majority of legal deposit copies of new publications without any assistance from the library worker. “This change is also important for the visually impaired, since the developments of the digital archives of the National Library of Estonia will create additional opportunities for accessing publications from the Web Library of the Estonian Library for the Blind,” Saar said.

The Legal Deposit Act influences all parties involved in publishing publications and making them available, such as the authors, publishers, printing houses, audiovisual producers, and libraries that receive a legal deposit copy under current law. For the publishers, the greatest change will take place in the number of compulsory legal deposit copies – it will fall from current eight to four.

All legal deposit copies and digital source materials must be handed over to the National Library of Estonia, which forwards them to the following keepers: the National Library of Estonia itself, the Archives Library of the Estonian Literary Museum, Tallinn University Academic Library, and University of Tartu Library. The process of collecting source materials of Estonian films and storing them in the National Archives of Estonia will become more systematic. “Therefore, the draft legislation reduces unnecessary administrative burden and duplication, and saves resources,” the Minister of Culture explained.

The draft Legal Deposit Act will replace the earlier Legal Deposit Act. The Act is scheduled to be enforced from 1 January 2017.

Source: MINISTRY OF CULTURE via Estonian Review

Estonia chooses artists to get on state payroll for next 3 years

Estonia is to pay a 1001-euro monthly salary in 2016-2018 to artists Kaido Ole, Marge Monko, Kris Lemsalu, Mark Raidpere and Anu Vahtra.

When assessing an application, the committee appointed by the Estonian Artists’ Association mainly took into consideration a candidate’s creation plan for the next three years, education or experience, and creation in the past years, among other things.

A total of 73 applications were submitted to the association by the deadline.

The salary will be provided by the Estonian Artists’ Association in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

Tartu becomes UNESCO City of Literature

Tartu, the second largest city in Estonia and its self-proclaimed intellectual capital, is the first city is the Baltic-Nordic region to become UNESCO City of Literature.

UNESCO’s City of Literature program was launched in 2004 and forms part of its Creative Cities Network. This year, Tartu and eight other cities were welcomed to the program, almost doubling the number of Cities of Literature in the world. The first to earn the honor in 2004 was Edinburgh in Scotland, followed by Melbourne and Iowa City in 2008.

Altogether, 47 cities from 33 countries joined the Creative Cities Network this year within seven creative fields (crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts and music).

“The most characteristic feature of cultural life in Tartu is creativity joining all free arts, openness to new ideas and a will to attract the citizens and the visitors to join these creative experiments,” the application committee said. “Tartu is historically a city of verbal arts and literary culture but it is also essential that in Tartu literary activity is closely connected with other arts and spheres of life: many events and projects bring together literature, music, visual arts and performing arts and literature often serves as the connecting link between different spheres of culture.”

Tartu is the location of several state institutions like the Ministry of Education and Research, Estonian National Museum, and Estonian Literary Museum. The city is also the center of many nationwide literary events and projects, including the Estonian literary festival Prima Vista, and has over one thousand institutions related to creative industries registered in the its Business Register.

Tartu submitted its preliminary application for the title in 2013 and the final application in July 2015. The application process was led by the Estonian Literary Society.

“Tartu is a city where culture, creative freedom and interdisciplinary innovation have been vital aspects of identity, of local and global aspirations to uniqueness as living environment. Becoming a member of the CCN is an acknowledgment of our historic and current creative achievements, but foremost an affirmation of our willingness to share best practices with partners worldwide,” the committee said.

Source: ERR News via Estonian Review

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