The next 2020 Population and Housing Census will be different. Estonia is now conducting a register-based census. The census data will be compiled from the data of national registers. About 24 national registers will be included, and they involve data on many fields of life.
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Statistics Estonia conducts a census every ten years. So far, people have had to take an active part in the census: by answering the questions of an enumerator or by filling in an e-census questionnaire. The questionnaire has been pre-filled with data from official registers. The next, 2020 Population and Housing Census will be different. Estonia has set the e-census world record: 67% of the population submitted their data via the Internet In the previous census. Estonia is now taking a step forward and conducting a register-based census. The census data will be compiled from the data of national registers. About 24 national registers will be included, and they involve data on many fields of life.
|Start date||1 Dec 2015|
|Nature and status of project|
Enabling assets or components
Estonian data exchange layer for information systems (X-Road)
Estonian Public Key Infrastructure
Estonian Catalogue of Public Sector Information (RIHA)
Estonian three-level IT baseline security system ISKE
Interoperability of the State Information System. Endorsed with the Directive of the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications 11-0377, 22.12.2011, https://www.mkm.ee/sites/default/files/interoperability-framework_2011.doc
European Statistics Code of Practice. Adopted by the European Statistical System Committee. 28th September 2011, http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/quality/european-statistics-code-of-practice
Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses,Revision 2.
Statistical Papers Series M, No. 67/Rev.2, ST/ESA/STAT/SER.M/67/Rev.2. United.
United Nations (2008).Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
(UNDESA), Statistics Division
Rahandusministri käskkiri 6.03.2015.Statistikaameti strateegia 2015-2020
Decree of the Minister of Finance
REGULATION (EC) No 223/2009 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE
COUNCIL of 11 March 2009 on European statistics, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/reg/2009/223/oj
REGULATION (EC) No 763/2008 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE
COUNCIL of 9 July 2008 on population and housing censuses, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/reg/2008/763/oj
COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 1201/2009 of 30 November 2009 implementing Regulation (EC) No 763/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council on population and housing censuses as regards the technical specifications of the topics and of their breakd, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/reg/2009/1201/oj
Commission Regulation (EU) No 1151/2010 of 8 December 2010 implementing
Regulation (EC) No 763/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council on
population and housing censuses, as regards the modalities and structure of the
quality reports and the te, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/reg/2010/1151/oj
Official Statistics Act. Riigikogu, RT I 2010, 41, 241, https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/506012015002/consolide
Personal Data Protection Act.Riigikogu, RT I 2007, 24, 127, https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/507032016001/consolide
Public Information Act. Riigikogu, RT I 2000, 92, 597, https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/518012016001/consolide
The classification system. Vabariigi Valitsus, RT I 2008, 4, 27, https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/12910889
The data exchange layer of information system. Vabariigi Valitsus, RT I 27.09.2016,
The administration system of state information system. Vabariigi Valitsus, RT I
29.03.2016, 6, https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/129032016006
The system of address details. Vabariigi Valitsus, RT I 13.10.2015, 2, https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/113102015002
Socio-cultural influence factors
Census procedures supported by census act, by strategical documents of Statistics Estonia.
Legal and organizational interoperability: legislation approved by stakeholders
All registers must linked by use commonly accepted keys:
• personal code for citizens,
• code of institution,
• standardised address presentation.
Secure data exchange layer X-Road (https://www.ria.ee/en/x-road.html) is used for gathering data from different registers. X-Road is a technological and organizational environment enabling a secure Internet-based data exchange between information systems. All registers and Statistics Estonia must be a member of X-Road
Information regarding the X-Road members and the services they provide is available via the Administration System for the State Information System (RIHA). RIHA (https://www.ria.ee/en/administration-system-of-the-state-information-system.html ) serves as a catalogue for the state’s information system. At the same time RIHA is a procedural and administrative environment via which the comprehensive and balanced development of the state’s information system has ensured. RIHA guarantees the transparency of the administration of the state’s information system and helps to plan the state’s information management.
PKI or the public key infrastructure (https://www.ria.ee/en/public-key-infrastructure.html ) enables secure digital authentication and signing. The infrastructure also allows forwarding data by using an encrypting key pair: a public encryption key and a private decryption key. In Estonia, this technology is used in relation with electronic identity (ID card, mobile ID, digital ID). All members of X-Road are using Digital seal certificates for signing messages. Citizens and officials are using electronic identity tokens.
All participants must be implemented three-level IT baseline security system ISKE (https://www.ria.ee/en/iske-en.html). The goal of implementing ISKE is to ensure a security level sufficient for the data processed in IT systems. The necessary security level achieved by implementing the standard organisational, infrastructural/physical and technical security measures.
The address data system (ADS) (http://www.maaamet.ee/index.php?lang_id=1&page_id=471&no_cache=1485415080) must implemented in all parties. ADS is a framework of administrative, technical and legal measures which ensures unambiguous identification of address objects in their location and in different databases, and common organisation of the establishment of location addresses and processing of address data.
Data guidelines of Estonian Data Protection Inspectorate (http://www.aki.ee/et/juhised) must followed.
Save manual work. Compared to conventional censuses, a register-based census saves the state an average of 25 x 1,300,000 minutes, or 541,667 hours, or 67,708 working days, or 280 full-time staff years.
Save time. A register-based census enables receiving results faster than a conventional census, as it reduces the number of human errors made by enumerated persons, which would have to be corrected during the data validation period in a conventional census. If the same national databases are regularly used for censuses, it is possible to use standardised software for the validation and analysis of census data.
Lower cost. A register-based census has lower costs, because it eliminates the need for census interviews which is the most labour- and cost-intensive stage of conventional
Better quality. The quality of a register-based census depends on the quality of data. High data quality should be an important objective for each national database.
Data handling / data exchange
Type of data sharing
Register of Employment (TÖR). (Ministry of Finance)
|Stakeholder name||Stakeholder type||Stakeholder role||Kind of data|
Population register (RR). (Ministry of the Interior)
|Government||Data provider||citizen data|
|Register of Residence and Work Permits (ETR). (Ministry of the Interior)||Government||Data provider||citizen data|
|Register of prisoners, post-sentence prisoners, detainees and arrested peoples (KIR). (Ministry of the Interior)||Government||Data consumer||citizen data|
|Estonian Education Information System (EHIS). (Ministry of Education and Research)||Government||Data provider||citizen data|
|Register of taxable persons (EMTA). (Ministry of Finance)||Government||Data provider||citizen data|
|Register of Employment (TÖR). (Ministry of Finance)||Government||Data provider||citizen data|
|Register of Mandatory Funded Pension (KPR). (Ministry of Finance)||Government||Data provider||citizen data|
|The State Human Resources Database (SAP). (Ministry of Finance)||Government||Data provider||citizen data|
|Estonian Register of Buildings (EHR). (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications)||Government||Data provider||citizen data|
|Land Register (KR). (Ministry of Finance)||Government||Data provider||citizen data|
|Commercial register (ARIREG). (Ministry of Finance)||Government||Data provider||citizen data|
|State Register of State and Local Government Institutions (RKOARR). (Ministry of Finance)||Government||Data provider||citizen data|
|E-file system (E-Toimik). (Ministry of Finance)||Government||Data provider||citizen data|
|Social Services and Benefits Registry (STAR). (Ministry of Social Affairs)||Government||Data provider||citizen data|
|Social Security Information System (SKAIS). (Ministry of Social Affairs)||Government||Data provider||citizen data|
|Health Insurance Information System (KIRST). (Estonian Health Insurance Fund)||Government||Data provider||citizen data|
|National Defence Obligation Register (KVKR). (Ministry of Defence)||Government||Data provider||citizen data|
|Estonian Unemployment Information System (EMPIS). (Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund||Data provider||citizen data|
|Address Data System (ADS). (Land Board)||Government||Data provider||citizen data|
|Estonian Traffic Register (liiklusregister). (Estonian Road Administration)||Data provider||citizen data|
|Population and Housing Census (REL) (previous data). (Statistics Estonia)||Government||Data consumer||citizen data|
Data exchange principles
For a successful register-based census, Statistics Estonia requires information from 20 national databases. Data acquisition (loading register data into Statistics Estonia’s information system) is automatic. Data acquisition will take place in two ways:
• Primary acquisition: the transmission of the required part of a register;
• Acquisition of updates: the transmission of changes made in the register.
• Registers and Statistics Estonia exchange data over the secure data exchange layer X-Road (legally binding data, confidential data).
• Data has transferred by using file transfer protocols (non-critical data).
• Data files has transferred by using e-mail (non-critical data).
• ALL registers and metadata of registers must described in catalogue RIHA.
• Data has transferred by using secure X-Road services according to the agreement between Statistics Estonia and registers. Both "pull" and "push" methods has allowed.
• Data are presented in XML-format and described by XMLSchema (.xsd format)
• Updates should include the time; updates must be able to get since the last updates.
• All addresses must have taken from ADS-system.
• All physical persons must have identified by PIN code, or with codes of business register
• Data of registers must aligned to the results of the quality assessment of Statistics Estonia.
• Registers must include all necessary characteristics, must be complete and accurate.
• Registers must ensure the integrity of data.
Enabler 1. Legal and organizational interoperability: legislation approved by stakeholders; government solutions pass interoperability assessment process.
Enabler 2. Secure data exchange layer for confidential and legally binding data needed. In case of Estonia the X-Road is used
Enabler 3. The unique personal identification code provide opportunity to merge personal data from different registers.
Enabler 4. The unique company commercial registry code provide opportunity to merge business data from different registers.
Enabler 5. The unique address data provide opportunity to merge address data from different registers.
Enabler 6. Master data in registers must described in catalogue RIHA properly.
Barrier 1. Quality of data needs to be improved. It should establish clearer quality requirements.
Barrier 2. The systematic logic controls of data must applied.
Barrier 3. Registers legislation must contain provisions to allow their data reuse by Statistics Estonia.
Barrier 4. Data of registers can processed by Statistics Estonia exclusively for the purpose of Census. The data allowing a person to be identified shall be substituted by a code. Decoding and the possibility to decode is permitted only for the needs of additional scientific research or official statistics.
Disclaimer: Please note that this article is a result of the SCOOP4C Pilot Project, not an application of a CEF Building Block.
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