Estonia

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 15, 2011
Flag of Estonia
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OF ESTONIA
 

Introduction

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After centuries of Danish, Swedish, German, and Russian rule, Estonia attained independence in 1918. Forcibly incorporated into the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US - it regained its freedom in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since the last Russian troops left in 1994, Estonia has been free to promote economic and political ties with the West. It joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.
 
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Geography

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Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland, between Latvia and Russia
 
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59 00 N, 26 00 E
 
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total: 45,228 sq km
country comparison to the world: 133
land: 42,388 sq km
water: 2,840 sq km
note: includes 1,520 islands in the Baltic Sea
 
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slightly smaller than New Hampshire and Vermont combined
 
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total: 633 km
border countries: Latvia 343 km, Russia 290 km
 
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3,794 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: limits fixed in coordination with neighboring states
 
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maritime; wet, moderate winters, cool summers
 
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marshy, lowlands; flat in the north, hilly in the south
 
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lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Suur Munamagi 318 m
 
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oil shale, peat, rare earth elements, phosphorite, clay, limestone, sand, dolomite, arable land, sea mud
 
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arable land: 12.05%
permanent crops: 0.35%
other: 87.6% (2005)
 
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40 sq km (2008)
 
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21.1 cu km (2005)
 
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total: 1.41 cu km/yr (56%/39%/5%)
per capita: 1,060 cu m/yr (2002)
 
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sometimes flooding occurs in the spring
 
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air polluted with sulfur dioxide from oil-shale burning power plants in northeast; however, the amount of pollutants emitted to the air have fallen steadily, the emissions of 2000 were 80% less than in 1980; the amount of unpurified wastewater discharged to water bodies in 2000 was 1/20 the level of 1980; in connection with the start-up of new water purification plants, the pollution load of wastewater decreased; Estonia has more than 1,400 natural and manmade lakes, the smaller of which in agricultural areas need to be monitored; coastal seawater is polluted in certain locations
 
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party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
 
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the mainland terrain is flat, boggy, and partly wooded; offshore lie more than 1,500 islands
 
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People and Society

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noun: Estonian(s)
adjective: Estonian
 
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Estonian 68.7%, Russian 25.6%, Ukrainian 2.1%, Belarusian 1.2%, Finn 0.8%, other 1.6% (2008 census)
 
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Estonian (official) 67.3%, Russian 29.7%, other 2.3%, unknown 0.7% (2000 census)
 
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Evangelical Lutheran 13.6%, Orthodox 12.8%, other Christian (including Methodist, Seventh-Day Adventist, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal) 1.4%, unaffiliated 34.1%, other and unspecified 32%, none 6.1% (2000 census)
 
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1,282,963 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
 
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0-14 years: 15.1% (male 99,919/female 94,066)
15-64 years: 67.2% (male 410,132/female 451,736)
65 years and over: 17.7% (male 74,803/female 152,307) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 40.5 years
male: 37 years
female: 43.9 years (2011 est.)
 
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-0.641% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 226
 
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10.45 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183
 
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13.55 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20
 
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-3.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
 
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urban population: 69% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 0.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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TALLINN (capital) 399,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.063 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.49 male(s)/female
total population: 0.84 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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12 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 140
 
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total: 7.06 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 166
male: 8.21 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.85 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 73.33 years
country comparison to the world: 119
male: 68.02 years
female: 78.97 years (2011 est.)
 
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1.44 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 193
 
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4.3% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 154
 
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3.409 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
country comparison to the world: 31
 
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5.71 beds/1,000 population (2008)
country comparison to the world: 30
 
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improved:
urban: 99% of population
rural: 97% of population
total: 98% of population
unimproved:
urban: 1% of population
rural: 3% of population
total: 2% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 96% of population
rural: 94% of population
total: 95% of population
unimproved:
urban: 4% of population
rural: 6% of population
total: 5% of population (2008)
 
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1.2% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
 
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9,900 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
 
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fewer than 500 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
 
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degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne disease: tickborne encephalitis (2009)
 
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14.4% (2004)
country comparison to the world: 38
 
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4.9% of GDP (2007)
country comparison to the world: 61
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.8% (2000 census)
 
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total: 16 years
male: 15 years
female: 17 years (2008)
 
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total: 27.3%
country comparison to the world: 18
male: 31.8%
female: 21.2% (2009)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Republic of Estonia
conventional short form: Estonia
local long form: Eesti Vabariik
local short form: Eesti
former: Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic
 
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parliamentary republic
 
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name: Tallinn
geographic coordinates: 59 26 N, 24 43 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
 
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15 counties (maakonnad, singular - maakond); Harjumaa (Tallinn), Hiiumaa (Kardla), Ida-Virumaa (Johvi), Jarvamaa (Paide), Jogevamaa (Jogeva), Laanemaa (Haapsalu), Laane-Virumaa (Rakvere), Parnumaa (Parnu), Polvamaa (Polva), Raplamaa (Rapla), Saaremaa (Kuressaare), Tartumaa (Tartu), Valgamaa (Valga), Viljandimaa (Viljandi), Vorumaa (Voru)
note: counties have the administrative center name following in parentheses
 
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20 August 1991 (declared); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union)
 
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Independence Day, 24 February (1918); note - 24 February 1918 was the date Estonia declared its independence from Soviet Russia and established its statehood; 20 August 1991 was the date it declared its independence from the Soviet Union
 
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adopted 28 June 1992
 
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civil law system
 
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accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 
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18 years of age; universal for all Estonian citizens
 
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chief of state: President Toomas Hendrik ILVES (since 9 October 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Andrus ANSIP (since 12 April 2005)
cabinet: Ministers appointed by the prime minister, approved by Parliament
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elections: president elected by Parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); if a candidate does not secure two-thirds of the votes after three rounds of balloting in the Parliament, then an electoral assembly (made up of Parliament plus members of local councils) elects the president, choosing between the two candidates with the largest number of votes; election last held on 29 August 2011 (next to be held in the fall of 2016); prime minister nominated by the president and approved by Parliament
election results: Toomas Hendrik ILVES reelected president; parliamentary vote - Toomas Hendrik ILVES 73, Indrek TARAND 25
 
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unicameral Parliament or Riigikogu (101 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 6 March 2011 (next to be held in March 2015)
election results: percent of vote by party - Estonian Reform Party 28.6%, Center Party of Estonia 23.3%, Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica 20.5%, Social Democratic Party 17.1%, Estonian Greens 3.8%, Estonian People's Union 2.1%, other 4.6%; seats by party - Estonian Reform Party 33, Center Party 26, Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica 23, Social Democratic Party 19
 
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Supreme Court (chairman appointed for life by Parliament)
 
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Center Party of Estonia (Keskerakond) [Edgar SAVISAAR]; Estonian Greens (Rohelised) [Marek STRANDBERG]; Estonian People's Union (Rahvaliit) [Andrus BLOK]; Estonian Reform Party (Reformierakond) [Andrus ANSIP]; Social Democratic Party [Sven MIKSER]; Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica (Isamaa je Res Publica Liit) [Mart LAAR]
 
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Australia Group, BA, BIS, CBSS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA (cooperating state), EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Marina KALJURAND
chancery: 2131 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 588-0101
FAX: [1] (202) 588-0108
consulate(s) general: New York
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Michael C. POLT
embassy: Kentmanni 20, 15099 Tallinn
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [372] 668-8100
FAX: [372] 668-8265
 
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three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), black, and white; various interpretations are linked to the flag colors; blue represents faith, loyalty, and devotion, while also reminiscent of the sky, sea, and lakes of the country; black symbolizes the soil of the country and the dark past and suffering endured by the Estonian people; white refers to the striving towards enlightenment and virtue, and is the color of birch bark and snow, as well as summer nights illuminated by the midnight sun
 
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barn swallow
 
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name: "Mu isamaa, mu onn ja room" (My Native Land, My Pride and Joy)
lyrics/music: Johann Voldemar JANNSEN/Fredrik PACIUS
note: adopted 1920, though banned between 1940 and 1990 under Soviet occupation; the anthem, used in Estonia since 1869, shares the same melody with that of Finland but has different lyrics
 
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Economy

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Estonia, a 2004 European Union entrant, has a modern market-based economy and one of the higher per capita income levels in Central Europe and the Baltic region. Estonia's successive governments have pursued a free market, pro-business economic agenda and have wavered little in their commitment to pro-market reforms. The current government has followed relatively sound fiscal policies that have resulted in balanced budgets and very low public debt. The economy benefits from strong electronics and telecommunications sectors and strong trade ties with Finland, Sweden, and Germany. Tallinn's priority has been to sustain high growth rates - on average 8% per year from 2003 to 2007. Estonia's economy slowed down markedly and fell sharply into recession in mid-2008, primarily as a result of an investment and consumption slump following the bursting of the real estate market bubble. GDP dropped nearly 14% in 2009, among the world's highest rates of contraction. Rising exports to Sweden and Finland lead an economic recovery in 2010, but unemployment stands above 17%. Estonia joined the OECD in December 2010 and adopted the euro in January 2011.
 
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$24.69 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
$23.95 billion (2009 est.)
$27.81 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$19.78 billion (2010 est.)
 
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3.1% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
-13.9% (2009 est.)
-5.1% (2008 est.)
 
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$19,100 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63
$18,400 (2009 est.)
$21,300 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 2.7%
industry: 29.1%
services: 68.2% (2010 est.)
 
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686,800 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
 
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agriculture: 2.8%
industry: 22.7%
services: 74.5% (2008)
 
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16.9% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
13.8% (2009 est.)
 
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19.7% (2008)
 
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lowest 10%: 2.7%
highest 10%: 27.7% (2004)
 
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31.4 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 109
37 (1999)
 
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18.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
 
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revenues: $7.719 billion
expenditures: $7.692 billion (2010 est.)
 
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39% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
 
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0.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
 
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6.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
7.1% of GDP (2009 est.)
 
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3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
-0.1% (2009 est.)
 
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7.759% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
9.385% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$6.614 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
$5.99 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
note: this figure represents the US dollar value of Estonian kroon in circulation prior to Estonia's joining the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the EMU; individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders
 
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$11.36 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
$11.7 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$18.95 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
$20.91 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$2.26 billion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 90
$2.654 billion (31 December 2009)
$1.951 billion (31 December 2008)
 
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grain, potatoes, vegetables; livestock and dairy products; fish
 
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engineering, electronics, wood and wood products, textiles; information technology, telecommunications
 
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13.2% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
 
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8.779 billion kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
 
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7.08 billion kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
 
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2.943 billion kWh (2009 est.)
 
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3.025 billion kWh (2009 est.)
 
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7,642 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
 
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31,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
 
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28,520 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
 
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1.02 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
 
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1.02 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
 
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$677.8 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
$893.1 million (2009 est.)
 
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$11.66 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
$9.125 billion (2009 est.)
 
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machinery and electrical equipment 21%, wood and wood products 9%, metals 9%, furniture 7%, vehicles and parts 5%, food products and beverages 4%, textiles 4%, plastics 3%
 
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Finland 18.5%, Sweden 17%, Russia 10.4%, Latvia 9.8%, Germany 5.7%, Lithuania 5.3% (2010)
 
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$11.94 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
$9.903 billion (2009)
 
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machinery and electrical equipment 22%, mineral fuels 18%, chemical products 3%, foodstuffs 6%, plastics 6%, textiles 5%
 
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Finland 15.7%, Germany 11.9%, Sweden 11.6%, Latvia 11.5%, Lithuania 8.2%, Poland 6.8%, Russia 4.5% (2010)
 
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$2.568 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107
$3.981 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$24.22 billion (30 June 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72
$22.03 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
 
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$16.39 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
$16.25 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$6.029 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57
$6.618 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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kroon (EEK) per US dollar -
11.8 (2010)
11.23 (2009)
10.7 (2008)
11.535 (2007)
12.473 (2006)
note: on 1 January 2011 Estonia adopted the euro as legal tender
 
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Communications

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482,200 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 100
 
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1.653 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 140
 
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general assessment: foreign investment in the form of joint business ventures greatly improved telephone service with a wide range of high quality voice, data, and Internet services available
domestic: substantial fiber-optic cable systems carry telephone, TV, and radio traffic in the digital mode; Internet services are widely available; schools and libraries are connected to the Internet, a large percentage of the population files income-tax returns online, and online voting was used for the first time in the 2005 local elections
international: country code - 372; fiber-optic cables to Finland, Sweden, Latvia, and Russia provide worldwide packet-switched service; 2 international switches are located in Tallinn (2008)
 
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the publicly-owned broadcaster, Eesti Rahvusringhaaling (ERR), operates 2 television channels; national private TV channels expanding service; a range of channels are aimed at Russian-speaking viewers; high penetration rate for cable TV services with more than half of Estonian households connected; publicly-owned broadcaster, ERR, operates 4 radio networks and there are a growing number of private commercial radio stations broadcasting nationally, regionally, and locally (2008)
 
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.ee
 
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729,534 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 48
 
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971,700 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 102
 
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Transportation

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19 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 137
 
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total: 13
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2010)
 
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total: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 3 (2010)
 
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1 (2010)
 
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gas 859 km (2010)
 
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total: 1,196 km
country comparison to the world: 84
broad gauge: 1,196 km 1.520-m and 1.524-m gauge (131 km electrified) (2010)
 
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total: 58,034 km
country comparison to the world: 77
paved: 34,936 km (includes 104 km of expressways)
unpaved: 23,098 km (2009)
 
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335 km (320 km are navigable year round) (2010)
country comparison to the world: 91
 
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total: 24
country comparison to the world: 95
by type: cargo 4, chemical tanker 1, passenger/cargo 17, petroleum tanker 2
foreign-owned: 3 (Germany 1, Norway 2)
registered in other countries: 77 (Antigua and Barbuda 20, Belize 1, Cambodia 1, Cyprus 7, Dominica 6, Finland 2, Latvia 4, Malta 16, former Netherlands Antilles 1, Norway 1, Saint Kitts and Nevis 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 10, Sierra Leone 1, Sweden 3, Venezuela 1) (2010)
 
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Kuivastu, Kunda, Muuga, Parnu Reid, Sillamae, Tallinn
 
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Military

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Estonian Defense Forces: Land Force, Navy, Air Force (Eesti Ohuvagi), Defense League (Kaitseliit, KL) (2011)
 
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obligation for compulsory service ages 16-60, with conscription "likely" ages 18-27; service requirement 8-11 months (2009)
 
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males age 16-49: 291,801
females age 16-49: 302,696 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 210,854
females age 16-49: 251,185 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 6,668
female: 6,309 (2010 est.)
 
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2% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71
 
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Transnational Issues

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Russia recalled its signature to the 1996 technical border agreement with Estonia in 2005, rather than concede to Estonia's appending a prepared unilateral declaration referencing Soviet occupation and territorial losses; Russia demands better accommodation of Russian-speaking population in Estonia; Estonian citizen groups continue to press for realignment of the boundary based on the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty that would bring the now divided ethnic Setu people and parts of the Narva region within Estonia; as a member state that forms part of the EU's external border, Estonia must implement the strict Schengen border rules with Russia
 
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current situation: Estonia is a source, transit, and destination country for women subjected to forced prostitution, and for men and women subjected to conditions of forced labor; women from Estonia are found in sex trafficking situations in Finland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy; men and women from Estonia are subjected to conditions of forced labor in Spain, Sweden, Norway, and Finland
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Estonia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; despite these efforts, the government did not demonstrate evidence of increasing its efforts; Estonia remains the only European Union country without a specific trafficking law; trafficking offenders convicted under non-trafficking statutes avoided accountability; the Estonian Government, however, gave some financial support to NGOs who care for trafficking victims, and it developed a national action plan with elements addressing trafficking in persons (2011)
 
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growing producer of synthetic drugs; increasingly important transshipment zone for cannabis, cocaine, opiates, and synthetic drugs since joining the European Union and the Schengen Accord; potential money laundering related to organized crime and drug trafficking is a concern, as is possible use of the gambling sector to launder funds; major use of opiates and ecstasy
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