Latvia Population: 1,923,559


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Several eastern Baltic tribes merged in medieval times to form the ethnic core of the Latvian people (ca. 8th-12th centuries A.D.). The region subsequently came under the control of Germans, Poles, Swedes, and finally, Russians. A Latvian republic emerged following World War I, but it was annexed by the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. Latvia reestablished its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Although the last Russian troops left in 1994, the status of the Russian minority (some 26% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia acceded to both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004; it joined the euro zone in 2014 and the OECD in 2016. A dual citizenship law was adopted in 2013, easing naturalization for non-citizen children.

    Most of the country is composed of fertile low-lying plains with some hills in the east
Location: Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania
Geographic coordinates: 57 00 N, 25 00 E
Area: total: 64,589 sq km
land: 62,249 sq km
water: 2,340 sq km

Size comparison: slightly larger than West Virginia
Land Boundaries: total: 1,370 km border countries (4): Belarus 161 km, Estonia 333 km, Lithuania 544 km, Russia 332 km
Coastline: 498 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: limits as agreed to by Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Sweden, and Russia
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate: maritime; wet, moderate winters
Terrain: low plain
Natural resources: peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, timber, arable land
Land use: agricultural land: 29.2% (2011 est.) arable land: 18.6% (2011 est.)
permanent crops: 0.1% (2011 est.) permanent pasture: 10.5% (2011 est.) forest: 54.1% (2011 est.)
other: 16.7% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 12 sq km (2012) note: land in Latvia is often too wet and in need of drainage not irrigation; approximately 16,000 sq km or 85% of agricultural land has been improved by drainage
Natural hazards: large percentage of agricultural fields can become waterlogged and require drainage
Current Environment Issues: while land, water, and air pollution are evident, Latvia's environment has benefited from a shift to service industries after the country regained independence; improvements have occurred in drinking water quality, sewage treatment, household and hazardous waste management, as well as reduction of air pollution; concerns include nature protection and the management of water resources and the protection of the Baltic Sea
International Environment Agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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Nationality: noun: Latvian(s)
adjective: Latvian
Ethnic groups: Latvian 62.2%, Russian 25.2%, Belarusian 3.2%, Ukrainian 2.2%, Polish 2.1%, Lithuanian 1.2%, other 1.5%, unspecified 2.3% (2018 est.)
Languages: Latvian (official) 56.3%, Russian 33.8%, other 0.6% (includes Polish, Ukrainian, and Belarusian), unspecified 9.4% (2011 est.) note: data represent language usually spoken at home
Religions: Lutheran 36.2%, Roman Catholic 19.5%, Orthodox 19.1%, other Christian 1.6%, other 0.1%, unspecified/none 23.5% (2017 est.)
Population: 1,923,559 (July 2018 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 15.24% (male 150,514 /female 142,580)
15-24 years: 9.16% (male 90,980 /female 85,302)
25-54 years: 41.36% (male 396,677 /female 398,972)
55-64 years: 14.38% (male 123,611 /female 153,007)
65 years and over: 19.85% (male 125,709 /female 256,207) (2018 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 52.5 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 23.1 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 29.4 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 3.4 (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 43.9 years
male: 40 years
female: 47.3 years (2018 est.)
Population growth rate: -1.1% (2018 est.)
Birth rate: 9.6 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate: 14.5 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate: -6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 68.1% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: -0.93% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population: 637,000 RIGA (capital) (2018)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.81 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.49 male(s)/female
total population: 0.86 male(s)/female (2018 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth: 27.2 years (2014 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 18 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 5.1 deaths/1,000 live births male: 5.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 74.9 years male: 70.4 years
female: 79.7 years (2018 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.52 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Physicians density: 3.19 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
Hospital bed density: 5.8 beds/1,000 population (2013)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 99.8% of population
rural: 98.3% of population
total: 99.3% of population

urban: 0.2% of population
rural: 1.7% of population
total: 0.7% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 90.8% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 81.5% of population (2015 est.)
total: 87.8% of population (2015 est.)

urban: 9.2% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 18.5% of population (2015 est.)
total: 12.2% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.7% (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 6,600 (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: <500 (2016 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 23.6% (2016)
Education expenditures: 5.3% of GDP (2015)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
total population: 99.9%
male: 99.9%
female: 99.9% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 16 years male: 15 years female: 17 years (2016)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 17% male: 18.3% female: 15.4% (2017 est.)
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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
etymology: the name "Latvia" originates from the ancient Latgalians, one of four eastern Baltic tribes that formed the ethnic core of the Latvian people (ca. 8th-12th centuries A.D.)
Government type: parliamentary republic
Capital: name: Riga
geographic coordinates: 56 57 N, 24 06 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
etymology: of the several theories explaining the name's origin, the one relating to the city's role in Baltic and North Sea commerce is the most probable; the name is likely related to the Latvian word "rija," meaning "warehouse," where the 'j' became a 'g' under the heavy German influence in the city from the late Middle Ages to the early 20th century
Administrative divisions: 110 municipalities (novadi, singular - novads) and 9 cities municipalities: Adazu Novads, Aglonas Novads, Aizkraukles Novads, Aizputes Novads, Aknistes Novads, Alojas Novads, Alsungas Novads, Aluksnes Novads, Amatas Novads, Apes Novads, Auces Novads, Babites Novads, Baldones Novads, Baltinavas Novads, Balvu Novads, Bauskas Novads, Beverinas Novads, Brocenu Novads, Burtnieku Novads, Carnikavas Novads, Cesu Novads, Cesvaines Novads, Ciblas Novads, Dagdas Novads, Daugavpils Novads, Dobeles Novads, Dundagas Novads, Durbes Novads, Engures Novads, Erglu Novads, Garkalnes Novads, Grobinas Novads, Gulbenes Novads, Iecavas Novads, Ikskiles Novads, Ilukstes Novads, Incukalna Novads, Jaunjelgavas Novads, Jaunpiebalgas Novads, Jaunpils Novads, Jekabpils Novads, Jelgavas Novads, Kandavas Novads, Karsavas Novads, Keguma Novads, Kekavas Novads, Kocenu Novads, Kokneses Novads, Kraslavas Novads, Krimuldas Novads, Krustpils Novads, Kuldigas Novads, Lielvardes Novads, Ligatnes Novads, Limbazu Novads, Livanu Novads, Lubanas Novads, Ludzas Novads, Madonas Novads, Malpils Novads, Marupes Novads, Mazsalacas Novads, Mersraga Novads, Nauksenu Novads, Neretas Novads, Nicas Novads, Ogres Novads, Olaines Novads, Ozolnieku Novads, Pargaujas Novads, Pavilostas Novads, Plavinu Novads, Preilu Novads, Priekules Novads, Priekulu Novads, Raunas Novads, Rezeknes Novads, Riebinu Novads, Rojas Novads, Ropazu Novads, Rucavas Novads, Rugaju Novads, Rujienas Novads, Rundales Novads, Salacgrivas Novads, Salas Novads, Salaspils Novads, Saldus Novads, Saulkrastu Novads, Sejas Novads, Siguldas Novads, Skriveru Novads, Skrundas Novads, Smiltenes Novads, Stopinu Novads, Strencu Novads, Talsu Novads, Tervetes Novads, Tukuma Novads, Vainodes Novads, Valkas Novads, Varaklanu Novads, Varkavas Novads, Vecpiebalgas Novads, Vecumnieku Novads, Ventspils Novads, Viesites Novads, Vilakas Novads, Vilanu Novads, Zilupes Novads; cities: Daugavpils, Jekabpils, Jelgava, Jurmala, Liepaja, Rezekne, Riga, Valmiera, Ventspils
Independence: 4 May 1990 (declared independence from the Soviet Union); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union)
National holiday: Independence Day (Republic of Latvia Proclamation Day), 18 November (1918); note - 18 November 1918 was the date Latvia established its statehood and its concomitant independence from Soviet Russia; 4 May 1990 was the date it declared the restoration of Latvian statehood and its concomitant independence from the Soviet Union
Constitution: history: several previous (pre-1991 independence); note - following the restoration of independence in 1991, parts of the 1922 constitution were reintroduced 4 May 1990 and fully reintroduced 6 July 1993 amendments: proposed by two-thirds of Parliament members or by petition of one-tenth of qualified voters submitted through the president; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of Parliament in each of three readings; amendment of constitutional articles including national sovereignty, language, the parliamentary electoral system, and constitutional amendment procedures requires passage in a referendum by majority vote of at least one-half of the electorate; amended several times, last in 2019 (2019)
Legal system: civil law system with traces of socialist legal traditions and practices
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Egils LEVITS (since 8 July 2019)

head of government: Prime Minister Krisjanis KARINS (since 23 January 2019)

cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers nominated by the prime minister, appointed by Parliament elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by Parliament for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 29 May 2019 (next to be held in 2023); prime minister appointed by the president, confirmed by Parliament

election results: Egils LEVITS elected president; Parliament vote - Egils LEVITS 61 votes, Didzis SMITS 24, Juris JANSONS 8; Krisjanis KARINS confirmed prime minister 61-39
Legislative branch: description: unicameral Parliament or Saeima (100 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by party list proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 6 October 2018 (next to be held in October 2022)

election results: percent of vote by party - SDPS 19.8%, KPV LV 14.3%, JKP 13.6%, AP! 12%,n/a11%, ZZS 9.9%, V 6.7%, other 12.7%; seats by party - SDPS 23, KPV LV 16, JKP 16, AP! 13,n/a13, ZZS 11, V 8; composition - men 69, women 31, percent of women 31% note: since the October 2018 elections, several efforts to form a government around a new prime minister have proved unsuccessful
Judicial branch: highest courts: highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the Senate with 36 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 7 judges) judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by chief justice and confirmed by the Saeima; judges serve until age 70, but term can be extended 2 years; Constitutional Court judges - 3 nominated by Saeima members, 2 by Cabinet ministers, and 2 by plenum of Supreme Court; all judges confirmed by Saeima majority vote; Constitutional Court president and vice president serve in their positions for 3 years; all judges serve 10-year terms; mandatory retirement at age 70

subordinate courts: district (city) and regional courts
Political parties and leaders: Development/For! or AP! [Daniels PAVLUTS, Juris PUCE] National Alliance "All For Latvia!"-"For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK" orn/a[Raivis DZINTARS] New Conservative Party or JKP [Janis BORDANS] Social Democratic Party "Harmony" or SDPS [Nils USAKOVS] Union of Greens and Farmers or ZZS [Armands KRAUZE] Unity or V [Arvils ASERADENS] Who Owns the State? or KPV LV [Artuss KAIMINS]
International organization participation: Australia Group, BA, BIS, CBSS, CD, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA (cooperating state), EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National symbol(s): white wagtail (bird);
national colors: maroon, white
National anthem: name: "Dievs, sveti Latviju!" (God Bless Latvia)
lyrics/music: Karlis BAUMANIS

note: adopted 1920, restored 1990; first performed in 1873 while Latvia was a part of Russia; banned during the Soviet occupation from 1940 to 1990
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Andris TEIKMANIS (since 16 September 2016)
chancery: 2306 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 328-2840
FAX: [1] (202) 328-2860
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Nancy Bikoff PETTIT (since 8 September 2015)
embassy: 1 Samnera Velsa St, Riga LV-1510
mailing address: Embassy of the United States of America, 1 Samnera Velsa St, Riga, LV-1510, Latvia
telephone: [371] 6710-7000
FAX: [371] 6710-7050
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Latvia is a small, open economy with exports contributing more than half of GDP. Due to its geographical location, transit services are highly-developed, along with timber and wood-processing, agriculture and food products, and manufacturing of machinery and electronics industries. Corruption continues to be an impediment to attracting foreign direct investment and Latvia's low birth rate and decreasing population are major challenges to its long-term economic vitality. Latvia's economy experienced GDP growth of more than 10% per year during 2006-07, but entered a severe recession in 2008 as a result of an unsustainable current account deficit and large debt exposure amid the slowing world economy. Triggered by the collapse of the second largest bank, GDP plunged by more than 14% in 2009 and, despite strong growth since 2011, the economy took until 2017 return to pre-crisis levels in real terms. Strong investment and consumption, the latter stoked by rising wages, helped the economy grow by more than 4% in 2017, while inflation rose to 3%. Continued gains in competitiveness and investment will be key to maintaining economic growth, especially in light of unfavorable demographic trends, including the emigration of skilled workers, and one of the highest levels of income inequality in the EU. In the wake of the 2008-09 crisis, the IMF, EU, and other international donors provided substantial financial assistance to Latvia as part of an agreement to defend the currency's peg to the euro in exchange for the government's commitment to stringent austerity measures. The IMF/EU program successfully concluded in December 2011, although, the austerity measures imposed large social costs. The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized, although the state still holds sizable stakes in a few large enterprises, including 80% ownership of the Latvian national airline. Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization in February 1999 and the EU in May 2004. Latvia also joined the euro zone in 2014 and the OECD in 2016.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $54.02 billion (2017 est.) $51.67 billion (2016 est.) $50.55 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): $30.33 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.5% (2017 est.) 2.2% (2016 est.) 3% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $27,700 (2017 est.) $26,200 (2016 est.) $25,500 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving: 20.7% of GDP (2017 est.) 21% of GDP (2016 est.) 21.8% of GDP (2015 est.) GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 61.8% (2017 est.) government consumption: 18.2% (2017 est.) investment in fixed capital: 19.9% (2017 est.) investment in inventories: 1.5% (2017 est.) exports of goods and services: 60.6% (2017 est.) imports of goods and services: -61.9% (2017 est.) GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 3.9% (2017 est.) industry: 22.4% (2017 est.) services: 73.7% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products: grain, rapeseed, potatoes, vegetables; pork, poultry, milk, eggs; fish
Industries: processed foods, processed wood products, textiles, processed metals, pharmaceuticals, railroad cars, synthetic fibers, electronics
Industrial production growth rate: 10.6% (2017 est.)
Labor force: 990,000 (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 7.7%
industry: 24.1%
services: 68.1% (2016 est.)
Unemployment rate: 8.7% (2017 est.) 9.6% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line: 25.5% (2015)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.2%
highest 10%: 26.3% (2015)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 34.5 (2015) 35.4 (2014)
Budget: revenues: 11.39 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 11.53 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 37.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.) Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): -0.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt: 36.3% of GDP (2017 est.) 37.4% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities, including sub-sectors of central government, state government, local government, and social security funds
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.9% (2017 est.) 0.1% (2016 est.)
Current account balance: -$231 million (2017 est.) $378 million (2016 est.)
Exports: $12.84 billion (2017 est.) $11.35 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities: foodstuffs, wood and wood products, metals, machinery and equipment, textiles
Exports - partners: Lithuania 15.8%, Russia 14%, Estonia 10.9%, Germany 6.9%, Sweden 5.7%, UK 4.9%, Poland 4.3%, Denmark 4.1% (2017)
Imports: $15.79 billion (2017 est.) $13.61 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, fuels, vehicles
Imports - partners: Lithuania 17.6%, Germany 11.7%, Poland 8.7%, Estonia 7.6%, Russia 7.1%, Netherlands 4.2%, Finland 4.2%, Italy 4% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $4.614 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $3.514 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external: $40.02 billion (31 March 2016 est.) $38.19 billion (31 March 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $18.84 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $15.36 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $3.402 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $2.485 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $6.76 billion (31 December 2016 est.) $6.799 billion (31 December 2015 est.) $7.127 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Exchange rates: lati (LVL) per US dollar - 0.906 (2017 est.) 0.9037 (2016 est.) 0.9037 (2015 est.) 0.9012 (2014 est.) 0.7525 (2013 est.)
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Electricity - production: 6.241 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 6.798 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports: 3.795 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports: 4.828 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 2.932 million kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 39% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 53% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 8% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 44,600 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 16,180 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 54,370 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 1.218 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 1.246 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (2014 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 8.632 million Mt (2017 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total subscriptions: 2,464,122
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 127 (2017 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: recent efforts focused on bringing competition to the telecommunications sector; the number of fixed lines is decreasing as mobile-cellular telephone service expands; EU regulatory policies, and framework provide guidelines for growth; govt. adopted measures to build a national fiber broadband network, part-funded by European Commission; commercial 5G services coming in 2019 (2018)

domestic: fixed-line 18 per 100 and mobile-cellular 127 per 100 subscriptions (2018)

international: country code - 371; the Latvian network is now connected via fiber-optic cable to Estonia, Finland, and Sweden
Broadcast media: several national and regional commercial TV stations are foreign-owned, 2 national TV stations are publicly owned; system supplemented by privately owned regional and local TV stations; cable and satellite multi-channel TV services with domestic and foreign broadcasts available; publicly owned broadcaster operates 4 radio networks with dozens of stations throughout the country; dozens of private broadcasters also operate radio stations
Internet country code: .lv
Internet users: total: 1,570,374
percent of population: 79.9% (July 2016 est.)
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Airports: 42 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 18
(2017) over 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2017)
under 914 m: 7 (2017)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 24
under 914 m: 24 (2013)
Heliports: 1 (2013)
Pipelines: 1,213 km gas, 417 km refined products (2018)
Railways: total 1,860 km
narrow gauge: 34 km 0.750-m gauge (2018) broad gauge: 1,826 km 1.520-m gauge (2018)
Roadways: total 70,244 km
(2018) paved: 15,158 km (2018)
unpaved: 55,086 km (2018)
Waterways: 300 km (navigable year-round) (2010)
Merchant marine: total 68

by type: general cargo 18, oil tanker 8, other 42 (2018)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Riga, Ventspils
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Military branches: National Armed Forces (Nacionalie Brunotie Speki): Land Forces (Latvijas Sauszemes Speki), Navy (Latvijas Juras Speki, includes Coast Guard (Latvijas Kara Flote)), Latvian Air Force (Latvijas Gaisa Speki), Latvian Home Guard (Latvijas Zemessardze) (2019)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; no conscription; under current law, every citizen is entitled to serve in the armed forces for life (2016)
Military expenditures: 2% of GDP (2018) 1.7% of GDP (2017) 1.47% of GDP (2016) 1.05% of GDP (2015) 0.94% of GDP (2014)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: Russia demands better Latvian treatment of ethnic Russians in Latvia; boundary demarcated with Latvia and Lithuania; the Latvian parliament has not ratified its 1998 maritime boundary treaty with Lithuania, primarily due to concerns over oil exploration rights; as a member state that forms part of the EU's external border, Latvia has implemented the strict Schengen border rules with Russia
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
stateless persons: 224,844 (2018); note - individuals who were Latvian citizens prior to the 1940 Soviet occupation and their descendants were recognized as Latvian citizens when the country's independence was restored in 1991; citizens of the former Soviet Union residing in Latvia who have neither Latvian nor other citizenship are considered non-citizens (officially there is no statelessness in Latvia) and are entitled to non-citizen passports; children born after Latvian independence to stateless parents are entitled to Latvian citizenship upon their parents' request; non-citizens cannot vote or hold certain government jobs and are exempt from military service but can travel visa-free in the EU under the Schengen accord like Latvian citizens; non-citizens can obtain naturalization if they have been permanent residents of Latvia for at least five years, pass tests in Latvian language and history, and know the words of the Latvian national anthem
Illicit drugs: transshipment and destination point for cocaine, synthetic drugs, opiates, and cannabis from Southwest Asia, Western Europe, Latin America, and neighboring Baltic countries; despite improved legislation, vulnerable to money laundering due to nascent enforcement capabilities and comparatively weak regulation of offshore companies and the gaming industry; CIS organized crime (including counterfeiting, corruption, extortion, stolen cars, and prostitution) accounts for most laundered proceeds
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   Source: CIA - The World Factbook

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