The current article gives an overview of the entry process of the youth into adulthood in Estonia: school-to-work transition, early career, and family formation. The paper compares the cohorts who have reached their early adulthood during the rather stable and pre-determined Soviet period (1980s), turbulent transition time (1990s) and a more stabilized society (2000s). As the main data source, we use the Estonian Social Survey (2004). School leavers in the 1990s compared to 1980s faced both greater career opportunities, but also increasing labour market insecurity and instability. The latter is reflected also in the family formation decisions - while in the 1980s, all crucial transitions into adulthood were concentrated into a short age span and took place in relatively early age, for the later cohorts the labor market entry and family formation events started to distance again.
Keywords: School-to-work transition, Central-Eastern Europe, Estonia, youth, family formation