According to the main economic indicators and living standards of the local population Estonia is considered the most prosperous country in the Baltics. Moreover, today this small country successfully competes with such countries as Poland and the Czech Republic. In Estonia the sphere of information technologies rapidly develops, about a third of citizens know Russian language and average salary exceeds 1,000 euros per month.

Life in Estonia for foreigners from third countries can later obtain Estonian citizenship and stay in the European Union forever. The country has very beautiful nature with many parks, forests and lakes. About prices and costs of living, taxes, employment specifics, salaries, education, medicine, pros and cons of living in Estonia in 2024 we will talk further.

Living in Estonia

Pros and cons of living in Estonia

Population of Estonia is about 1.3 million people. The largest city and the capital of the state Tallinn has about 437.6 thousand inhabitants of which 38% are ethnic Russians. Let us highlight the positive and negative aspects of living in Estonian territory.

Pros of living in Estonia

  • According to the World Health Organization, Estonia has the best air quality in the world after Finland. It is a very spacious and safe country.

  • Stable economy with a developed information and innovation sector allows to conduct successful business in Estonia. According to the agency Doing Business, the Estonian state ranks 18th among the 190 countries of the world in accessibility of opening and ease of doing business.

  • Estonia has galleries and theaters, many cultural events, including fairs, concerts and festivals.

  • Estonia boasts the most widespread digital services in the world.

  • Estonians are quiet people, most of whom speak English and many speak Russian.

Pros and cons of living in Estonia

Cons of living in Estonia

  • Some Estonians hold extremely nationalistic views.

  • To successfully find a job in Estonia, it is often necessary to know Estonian, which is quite difficult to learn.

  • The weather in Estonia is overcast and cloudy with humid air (especially in winter). Therefore, many foreigners lack sunshine and warmth.

  • Recently, the cost of living in Estonia has increased significantly.

  • Until the moment of acquaintance and sometimes friendship, Estonians seem quite cold and closed.

Prices and cost of living in Estonia

Compared to most Western European countries, living in Estonia is very cheap. Even in Tallinn, housing and food prices are quite reasonable. Renting a one-room apartment in Estonia in the central part of the city will cost about 550 euros, and in remote areas about 415 euros. The price of a square meter of real estate in the center – 3,505 euros, and 2,380 euros outside the city.

Prices in Estonia in 2024

  • Bread (500 g) – 1.12 euros

  • Milk (1 L) – 1.06 euros

  • Eggs (12 eggs) – 2.49 euros

  • Chicken Fillets (1 kg) – 7.34 euros

  • Potatoes (1 kg) – 0.85 euros

  • Estonian cheese (1 kg) – 9.67 euros

  • Bananas (1 kg) – 1.30 euros

  • Apples (1 kg) – 1.55 euros

  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 1.73 euros

  • Cab (1 km) – 0.80 euros

  • Public transport fare – 1.75 euros

  • Monthly bus pass – 30 euros

  • Utilities (85 sq. m.) – 267.46 euros per month

  • Mobile Tariff Local (month) – 18.49 euros

  • Internet – 26.14 euros per month

Note. Above are average price indices collected from different Estonian cities.

Taxes in Estonia

Estonia has a clear and efficient tax system with low rates. Almost all banking and financial transactions in the country are done online, including tax payments. Every year about 95 percent of all tax returns in Estonia are filed electronically.

With the help of a special ID-card the company registration procedure can be done in just a few hours. Corporate tax in Estonia is levied only on dividend payments.

Estonian tax rates in 2024

Corporate income tax – 20% (in the case of distribution of profits).

VAT – 20%. Reduced rates of 9% (pharmaceutical products, medical equipment for the disabled, books (except e-books), newspapers and periodicals, hotel accommodation) and 0% (passenger, urban and international transport) are provided for some activities.

Income tax – 20%.

Social contributions – 33% (employer), including 13% for health insurance and 20% for pension insurance.

Unemployment insurance contribution – 1.6% (employee) and 0.8% (employer).

Pension contribution – 2% (employee).

As of January 1, 2024, the total tax-free amount (basic exemption) in Estonia is 820 euros per month (at the level of the minimum wage).

Taxes in Estonia

Jobs and wages in Estonia

Local residents and citizens of the European Union have the first-priority right to employment in Estonia. Applicants from third countries, including Ukraine, can take a vacancy on the Estonian labour market only in case there is no necessary specialist among the above categories. Another condition is obtaining a work permit in Estonia. There are rare exceptions, for example, for university teachers, athletes, seasonal workers in agriculture, and some other professions.

It is easiest for foreigners to find work in Tallinn, where over 60% of open jobs in the country are concentrated. Unemployment in Estonia is kept at a level of 7-8%. In order to successfully find a job you must have a high level of qualification, sufficient experience, appropriate education and knowledge of the Estonian language. Knowledge only of English significantly reduces the chances. Programmers, construction workers, drivers, doctors and technicians are in demand in Estonia.

Quite high quality of life in Estonia is provided, among other things, due to salaries, which today are higher than in some developed European countries. According to the local statistical office, the minimum wage in Estonia in 2024 is 820 euros per month. The average salary is 1,904 euros per month and after taxes it is 1,495 euros. Depending on the region, wages in Estonia vary from 1,408 to 2,121 euros per month.

Higher education in Estonia

Higher education in Estonia

The Estonian higher education system comprises 25 educational institutions, including 6 state universities, 8 state vocational universities, 1 private university, 8 private vocational universities and 2 public vocational institutions. More than 130 study programmes are offered in English, and there are also several courses in Russian.

Among the best universities in Estonia are the University of Tartu and the University of Tallinn. The requirements for international students for admission depend on the specific institution. In addition to language skills and high school diploma, there are often exams, tests and interviews. The average cost of studying at an Estonian university varies from 1.7 to 7.5 thousand euros a year.

Medicine in Estonia

There is a medical insurance system in Estonia, which enables every resident to use the services of a family doctor free of charge. Only in case of a home visit there is a symbolic fee of about 5 euros. The family physician makes recommendations on disease prevention, takes preventive measures and, if necessary, refers you to other specialists.

Without a referral from the family physician, it is possible to see a psychiatrist, gynecologist, ophthalmologist, dentist, pulmonologist (for tuberculosis treatment), infection specialist (for HIV/AIDS treatment), surgeon or orthopedist (for traumatology). As in most countries of the world, dental care in Estonia is expensive and is not covered by the Health Insurance Fund.

In conclusion, the average life expectancy at birth in Estonia in 2024 is 78 years, with men living about 73 years and women 82.

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