Summary. We develop a class of log-linear structural models that is suited to estimation of small area cross-classified counts based on survey data. This allows us to account for various associ- ation structures within the data and includes as a special case the restricted log-linear model underlying structure preserving estimation. The effect of survey design can be incorporated into estimation through the specification of an unbiased direct estimator and its associated covariance structure. We illustrate our approach by applying it to estimation of small area labour force characteristics in Norway.