Yana Toom was born in Tallinn in 1966. She went to an Estonian-language kindergarten and then to Russian-language school No. 26, where there was special emphasis on the study of the English language. In addition, she attended music school (piano) and art school. She studied Russian philology in Tartu and researched the literary links between Aleksandr Blok and Innokenty Annensky. However, she did not graduate from the university because of the birth of her children.
After the restoration of independence to the Republic of Estonia, she left for Chelyabinsk Oblast in Russia with her husband, who had also been studying in Tartu but was not granted residency in Estonia. She returned in 1994, having dreadfully missed Tallinn, and she joined the newspaper Molodyozh' Estonii as a correspondent. She worked for the newspaper for two years and then took a position in the weekly newspaper Den' Za Dnem, where she became editor-in-chief in 1999. In 2006, she transferred to the same position in the newspaper Vesti Nedeli.
Yana Toom joined Keskerakond (the Centre Party) in 2008. After leaving Vesti Nedeli, she worked as chief editor for the Tallinn newspaper Stolitsa. In 2010, she became Vice-Mayor of Tallinn for Culture, Education and Sport; in 2011, she ran for election to the Riigikogu (Estonian Parliament) and became a Member of the Riigikogu. In 2014, she ran for election to the European Parliament and became a Member of the European Parliament (25,251 votes). Five years later, she sought re-election to the European Parliament, secured 26,990 votes and is now serving her second term in the European Parliament.
Yana Toom has five children and four grandchildren.