Statistical information Latvia 1996Latvia

Map of Latvia | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Energy | Communication
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Latvia in the World
Latvia in the World

Latvia - Introduction 1996
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Background: Along with most of the other small nations of Europe, Latvia shares a history of invasion by a succession of expansionist nations, e.g., Sweden, Poland, Germany, and Russia. After a brief period of independence between the two World Wars, Latvia was annexed by the USSR in 1940 under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The USSR recaptured Latvia from its German occupiers in 1944. Latvia reestablished its independence in August 1991, a few months prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union; the last Russian troops left in 1994. The status of ethnic Russians, who make up 30% of the population, is an issue of concern to Moscow. Unemployment has become a growing problem.

Latvia - Geography 1996
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Location: Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania

Geographic coordinates

Map reference

Total: 64,100 km²
Land: 64,100 km²
Comparative: slightly larger than West Virginia

Land boundaries: Total 1,078 km, Belarus 141 km, Estonia 267 km, Lithuania 453 km, Russia 217 km

Coastline: 531 km

Maritime claims
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm
Continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate: Maritime; wet, moderate winters

Terrain: Low plain

Extremes lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
Extremes highest point: Gaizinkalns 312 m

Natural resources:
Amber, peat, limestone, dolomite

Land use

Land use
Arable land: 27%
Permanent crops: 0%
Permanent pastures: 13%
Forests and woodland: 39%
Other: 21%

Irrigated land: 160 km² (1990)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards


Latvia - People 1996
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2,468,982 (July 1996 est.)
2,762,899 (July 1995 est.)

Growth rate:
-1.39% (1996 est.)
0.5% (1995 est.)

Noun: Latvian(s)
Adjective: Latvian

Ethnic groups:
Latvian 56%
Russian 30%
Byelorussian 4.5%
Ukrainian 3.4%
Polish 2.3%
Other 3.8%

Languages: Lettish (official), Lithuanian, Russian, other

Religions: Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years:
20% (male 254,664; female 244,502) (July 1996 est.)
22% (male 304,830; female 294,521) (July 1995 est.)

15-64 years:
66% (male 775,690; female 848,128) (July 1996 est.)
65% (male 870,128; female 933,003) (July 1995 est.)

65 years and over:
14% (male 108,814; female 237,184) (July 1996 est.)
13% (male 112,941; female 247,476) (July 1995 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate:
-1.39% (1996 est.)
0.5% (1995 est.)

Birth rate:
10.94 births/1000 population (1996 est.)
13.71 births/1000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate:
15.19 deaths/1000 population (1996 est.)
12.49 deaths/1000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate:
-9.69 migrant(s)/1000 population (1996 est.)
3.76 migrant(s)/1000 population (1995 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: air and water pollution because of a lack of waste conversion equipment; Gulf of Riga and Daugava River heavily polluted; contamination of soil and groundwater with chemicals and petroleum products at military bases
Current issues Natural hazards: NA
International agreements: party to_Air Pollution, Hazardous Wastes, Ship Pollution; signed, but not ratified_Biodiversity, Climate Change

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.46 male(s)/female
All ages:
0.86 male(s)/female (1996 est.) Infant Mortality Rate:21.2 deaths/1000 live births (1996 est.)
21 deaths/1000 live births (1995 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 66.91 years (1996 est.), 69.65 years (1995 est.)
Male: 60,84 years (1996 est.), 64.6 years 91,995 est.)
Female: 73.27 years (1996 est.), 74.95 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.62 children born/woman (1996 est.)
1.97 children born/woman (1995 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over that can read and write (1989)
Total population: 100%
Male: 100%
Female: 99%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Latvia - Government 1996
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Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of Latvia
Conventional short form: Latvia
Local long form: Latvijas Republika
Local short form: Latvija
Former: Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic

Government type: Republic

Capital: Riga

Administrative divisions: 26 counties (singular_rajons) and 7
Municipalities*: Aizkraukles Rajons, Aluksnes Rajons, Balvu Rajons, Bauskas Rajons, Cesu Rajons, Daugavpils*, Daugavpils Rajons, Dobeles Rajons, Gulbenes Rajons, Jekabpils Rajons, Jelgava*, Jelgavas Rajons, Jurmala*, Kraslavas Rajons, Kuldigas Rajons, Leipaja*, Liepajas Rajons, Limbazu Rajons, Ludzas Rajons, Madonas Rajons, Ogres Rajons, Preiju Rajons, Rezekne*, Rezeknes Rajons, Riga*, Rigas Rajons, Saldus Rajons, Talsu Rajons, Tukuma Rajons, Valkas Rajons, Valmieras Rajons, Ventspils*, Ventspils Rajons

Dependent areas

Independence: 6 September 1991 (from Soviet Union)

National holiday: Independence Day, 18 November (1918)

Constitution: Newly elected Parliament in 1993 restored the 1933 constitution

Legal system: Based on civil law system

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Guntis ULMANIS (since 7 July 1993) was elected by Parliament (Saeima) in the third round of balloting; election last held 7 July 1993 (next to be held NA June 1996)
Head of government: Prime Minister Guntars Krasts
Cabinet: Council of Ministers; appointed by the Supreme Council

Legislative branch: Unicameral Parliament (Saeima):Elections last held 30 September-1 October 1995 (next to be held NA October 1998; results_Saimnieks 18%, LC 17%, For Latvia 16%, TB 14%, LNNK 8%, Unity 8%, LSZ/LKDS 7%, Harmony 6%, Socialist 6%; seats_(100 total) Saimnieks 18, LC 17, For Latvia 16, TB 14, LNNK 8, Unity 8, LSZ/LKDS 7, Harmony 6, Socialist 6

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges' appointments are confirmed by the Saeima

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: BIS, CBSS, CCC, CE, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, NACC, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WEU (associate partner), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation

Flag descriptionflag of Latvia: Two horizontal bands of maroon (top and bottom), white (middle, narrower than other two bands)

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Latvia - Economy 1996
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Economy overview: Latvia's economic transformation to a modern market economy_rivaled only by Estonia among the former Soviet states_faltered in 1995 as a result of banking and budget crises. Latvia's largely unregulated financial sector suffered a series of bank failures, including the collapse of the country's largest commercial bank_Bank Baltija_due largely to criminal activity by the owners. The government's attempts to compensate depositors of failed banks exacerbated an existing budget shortfall; poor revenue collection and a soft treasury bill market had already caused the government to incur a larger than expected deficit early in the year. As a result of the crises, Latvia's budget deficit for 1995 was $168 million, double that originally planned. In addition, GDP growth came to a halt. The Central Bank maintained its tough monetary policies_severely limiting credits to the state, despite the budget problems_helping to keep annual inflation the lowest among the Baltic states, at about 20%. New Prime Minister SKELE wants to invigorate the privatization of industry; agriculture already is mainly in private hands.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate:
-1.5% (1995 est.)
2% (1994 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: Principally dairy farming and livestock feeding; products_meat, milk, eggs, grain, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables; fishing and fish packing

Highly diversified
Dependent on imports for energy, raw materials, and intermediate products
Produces buses, vans, street and railroad cars, synthetic fibers, agricultural machinery, fertilizers, washing machines, radios, electronics, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, textiles

Industrial production growth rate: Growth rate -9.5% (1994 est.), accounts for 27% of GDP

Labor force: 1.407 million
By occupation Industry and construction: 41%
By occupation Agriculture and forestry: 16%
By occupation Other: 43% (1990)
Labor force

Unemployment rate:
6.5% (1995 est.)
6.5% (December 1994)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: NA
Expenditures: NA, including capital expenditures of NA

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: Calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

total value. $1.3 billion (f.o.b., 1995 est.)
$1 billion (f.o.b., 1994)

Oil products
Ferrous metals
Dairy products


Total value:
$1.7 billion (c.i.f., 1995 est.)
$1.2 billion (c.i.f., 1994)

Ferrous metals


Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: NA

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Lats per US$1_0.544 (January 1996), 0.528 (1995), 0.560 (1994), 0.675 (1993), 0.736 (1992)

Latvia - Energy 1996
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 5.5 billion kWh

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 1,864 kWh (1993)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Latvia - Communication 1996
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: 660,000 telephones (1993 est.); 240 telephones/1000 persons (1993); Latvia is better provided with telephone service than most of the other former Soviet republics; an NMT-450 analog cellular telephone network covers 75% of Latvia's population
Local: NA
Intercity: NA
International: international traffic carried by leased connection to the Moscow international gateway switch and through the new Ericsson AXE local/transit digital telephone exchange in Riga and through the Finnish cellular net; electronic mail capability by Sprint data network

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Latvia - Military 1996
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Military expenditures

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Latvia - Transportation 1996
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 50
2438 to 3047 m: 6
15-24 to 2437 m: 2
914 to 1523 m: 1
Under 914 m: 27
With unpaved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 2
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 2
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 10

Airports with paved runways

Airports with unpaved runways
2438 to 3047 m: 2
914 to 1523 m: 2
Under 914 m: 10


Pipelines: Crude oil 750 km; refined products 780 km; natural gas 560 km (1992)



Waterways: 300 km perennially navigable

Merchant marine
Total: 56 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 519,859 GRT/678,987 DWT
Ships by type: cargo 7, oil tanker 24, refrigerated cargo 18, roll-on/roll-off cargo 7 (1995 est.)

Ports and terminals

Latvia - Transnational issues 1996
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: Transshipment point for illicit drugs from Central and Southwest Asia and Latin America to Western Europe; limited producer of illicit opium; mostly for domestic consumption; also produces illicit amphetamines for export

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