Country Listing

Latvia Table of Contents



Population: 2,565,854 (1994 estimate). Population declined in early 1990s because of negative natural growth rates and net out-migration. Birth rate 9.5 births per 1,000 population; death rate 16.3 deaths per 1,000 population (1994). Total fertility rate 2.0 children per woman (1993). Population density 39.7 persons per square kilometer. Average life expectancy estimated in 1994 at 69.4 years (64.4 years for males and 74.8 years for females).

Ethnic Groups: According to the 1989 census, Latvians 52.0 percent, Russians 34.0 percent, Belorussians 4.5 percent, Ukrainians 3.4 percent, Poles 2.3 percent, Lithuanians 1.3 percent, and others (including Jews, Germans, Estonians, Tatars, and Gypsies) 2.5 percent. In 1994 estimates of Latvian and Russian groups 54.2 percent and 33.1 percent, respectively.

Languages: Official language Latvian; Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Polish, Lithuanian, and other languages also used.

Religion: Mostly Evangelical Lutheran; Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Old Believers, Baptists, Pentecostals, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jews, and Methodists also represented.

Education: Latvian adopted as official state language in 1989, making its study compulsory for all students. Nine years of primary education compulsory; may be followed by three years of secondary education or one to six years in technical, vocational, or art schools. In 1993-94 school year, total of 76,619 students enrolled in primary schools, 242,677 in secondary schools, 27,881 in vocational schools, 19,476 in special secondary institutions, and 7,211 in special schools for physically and mentally handicapped. Literacy rate close to 100 percent.

Health and Welfare: In 1992 some 176 hospitals and 130 beds per 10,000 inhabitants. Most hospitals lacked modern facilities and were concentrated in urban areas. Forty-one physicians per 10,000 inhabitants, but too few nurses and other auxiliary staff. Retirement pensions LVL15 to LVL23.5 per month; many pensions awarded also to survivors and disabled persons.

Labor Force: 1,407,000 (August 1994); industry 30 percent; agriculture 16 percent; trade 9 percent; transportation and communications 9 percent; construction 10 percent; and financial services and other 27 percent. Distribution of economic sectors began to shift away from industry and toward services in early 1990s.

Data as of January 1995