In 1998, Estonians made up about 65% of the population, Russians 28.1%, Ukrainians 2.5%, Belarussians 1.5%, Finns 1%, and others 1.6%. Non-Estonians were found chiefly in the northeastern industrial towns, while rural areas were 87% Estonian. Citizenship is by birth only if at least one parent is an Estonian citizen. Naturalization requires three years' residence and competence in Estonian.
After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Estonia reinstituted its pre World War II citizenship laws, which set conditions for non-Estonians to become citizens. Those who are neither Estonian nor Russian citizens are considered resident aliens.