Photos of Latvia



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 25% 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.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania

Geographic coordinates

57 00 N, 25 00 E


total: 64,589 sq km

land: 62,249 sq km

water: 2,340 sq km

comparison ranking: total 124

Area - comparative

slightly larger than West Virginia

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 1,370 km

border countries (4): Belarus 161 km; Estonia 333 km; Lithuania 544 km; Russia 332 km


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


maritime; wet, moderate winters


low plain


highest point: Gaizina Kalns 312 m

lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m

mean elevation: 87 m

Natural resources

peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, timber, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 29.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 18.6% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 10.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 54.1% (2018 est.)

other: 16.7% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

6 sq km (2016)

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

Population distribution

largest concentration of people is found in and around the port and capital city of Riga; small agglomerations are scattered throughout the country

Natural hazards

large percentage of agricultural fields can become waterlogged and require drainage

Geography - note

most of the country is composed of fertile low-lying plains with some hills in the east

People and Society


1,821,750 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 153


noun: Latvian(s)

adjective: Latvian

Ethnic groups

Latvian 62.7%, Russian 24.5%, Belarusian 3.1%, Ukrainian 2.2%, Polish 2%, Lithuanian 1.1%, other 1.8%, unspecified 2.6% (2021 est.)


Latvian (official) 56.3%, Russian 33.8%, other 0.6% (includes Polish, Ukrainian, and Belarusian), unspecified 9.4%; note - data represent language usually spoken at home (2011 est.)

major-language sample(s):
World Factbook, neaizstājams avots pamata informāciju. (Latvian)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Latvian audio sample:


Lutheran 36.2%, Roman Catholic 19.5%, Orthodox 19.1%, other Christian 1.6%, other 0.1%, unspecified/none 23.5% (2017 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 14.92% (male 139,877/female 131,839)

15-64 years: 63.37% (male 570,902/female 583,578)

65 years and over: 21.71% (2023 est.) (male 134,809/female 260,745)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 59.3

youth dependency ratio: 24.9

elderly dependency ratio: 34.4

potential support ratio: 2.9 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 44.4 years

male: 40.5 years

female: 48 years (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 16

Population growth rate

-1.13% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 231

Birth rate

8.5 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 210

Death rate

14.69 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 4

Net migration rate

-5.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 204

Population distribution

largest concentration of people is found in and around the port and capital city of Riga; small agglomerations are scattered throughout the country


urban population: 68.7% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: -0.68% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

621,000 RIGA (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.52 male(s)/female

total population: 0.87 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

27.3 years (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

18 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 128

Infant mortality rate

total: 4.78 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 5.2 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 4.34 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total 177

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.16 years

male: 71.75 years

female: 80.79 years (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total population 113

Total fertility rate

1.55 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 194

Gross reproduction rate

0.76 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 99.9% of population

rural: 98.6% of population

total: 99.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.1% of population

rural: 1.4% of population

total: 0.5% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

7.5% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

3.4 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

5.5 beds/1,000 population (2018)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 98.9% of population

rural: 85.3% of population

total: 94.6% of population

unimproved: urban: 1.1% of population

rural: 14.7% of population

total: 5.4% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate (2023)

vectorborne diseases: tickborne encephalitis

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

23.6% (2016)

comparison ranking: 65

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 12.9 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 4.9 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 1.7 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 5.3 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 1 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 2

Tobacco use

total: 37% (2020 est.)

male: 50.3% (2020 est.)

female: 23.7% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 10

Education expenditures

6% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 44


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.9%

male: 99.9%

female: 99.9% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years

male: 16 years

female: 17 years (2020)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 15.5%

male: 12%

female: 19.6% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 113


Environment - current 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

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Heavy Metals, Air Pollution-Multi-effect Protocol, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


maritime; wet, moderate winters

Land use

agricultural land: 29.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 18.6% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 10.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 54.1% (2018 est.)

other: 16.7% (2018 est.)


urban population: 68.7% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: -0.68% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.85% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 55

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 134

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 12.72 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 7 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 1.85 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 857,000 tons (2015 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 181,941 tons (2015 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 21.2% (2015 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 90 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 40 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 60 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

34.94 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)


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 (while occupied by the USSR)

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


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

36 municipalities (novadi, singular - novads) and 7 state cities (valstpilsetu pasvaldibas, singular valstspilsetas pasvaldiba)

municipalities: Adazi, Aizkraukle, Aluksne, Augsdaugava, Balvi, Bauska, Cesis, Dienvidkurzeme, Dobele, Gulbene, Jekabpils, Jelgava, Kekava, Kraslava, Kuldiga, Limbazi, Livani, Ludza, Madona, Marupe, Ogre, Olaine, Preili, Rezekne, Ropazi, Salaspils, Saldus, Saulkrasti, Sigulda, Smiltene, Talsi, Tukums, Valka, Valmiera, Varaklani, Ventspils

cities: Daugavpils, Jelgava, Jurmala, Liepaja, Rezekne, Riga, Ventspils


18 November 1918 (from Soviet Russia); 4 May 1990 (declared 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


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

Legal system

civil law system with traces of socialist legal traditions and practices

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Latvia

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Egils LEVITS (since 8 July 2019)

head of government: Prime Minister vacant (as of 17 August 2023); note - Krisjanis KARINS stepped down on 17 August 2023

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, Didzis SMITS 24, Juris JANSONS 8; Krisjanis KARINS confirmed prime minister 61-39

2015: Raimonds VEJONIS elected president; Parliament vote - Raimonds VEJONIS (Latvian Green Party) 55, Egils LEVITS (NA) 42

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 1 October 2012 (next to be held no later than 3 October 2026)

election results: percent of vote by party - JV 19.2%, ZZS 12.6%, AS 11.1%, NA 9.4%, S! 6.9%, LPV 6.3%, and PRO 6.2%; seats by party - JV 26, ZZS 16, AS 15, NA 13, S! 11, LPV 9, and PRO 10

Judicial branch

highest court(s): 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, Ivars IJABS]
For Stability or S! [Aleksejs ROSLIKOVS]
Latvia First [Ainars SLESERS]
Latvian Green Party or LZP (Edgars TAVARS)
National Alliance "All For Latvia!"-"For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK" or NA [Raivis DZINTARS]
New Unity or JV [Arturs Krišjānis KARINS]
Social Democratic Party "Harmony" or S [Janis URBANOVICS]
The Progressives or PRO [Kaspars BRISKENS]
Union of Greens and Farmers or ZZS [Aivars LEMBERGS]
United List or AS [Uldis PILENS] (electoral coalition including the Latvian Green Party or LZP, Latvian Association of Regions or LRA, Liepaja Party)

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, Wassenaar Arrangement, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Maris SELGA (since 16 September 2019)

chancery: 2306 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 328-2840

FAX: [1] (202) 328-2860

email address and website:

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Christopher ROBINSON (since 21 February 2023)

embassy: 1 Samnera Velsa Street (former Remtes), Riga LV-1510

mailing address: 4520 Riga Place, Washington DC  20521-4520

telephone: [371] 6710-7000

FAX: [371] 6710-7050

email address and website:

Flag description

three horizontal bands of maroon (top), white (half-width), and maroon; the flag is one of the older banners in the world; a medieval chronicle mentions a red standard with a white stripe being used by Latvian tribes in about 1280

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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 3 (both cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Historic Center of Riga; Struve Geodetic Arc; Old town of Kuldiga


Economic overview

high-income, EU-member Baltic economy; export-driven; Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused a temporary labor force surge and impacted growth due to Russian trade reliance; highly developed transit services

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$60.457 billion (2021 est.)
$58.094 billion (2020 est.)
$59.403 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 106

Real GDP growth rate

4.07% (2021 est.)
-2.2% (2020 est.)
2.57% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 120

Real GDP per capita

$32,100 (2021 est.)
$30,600 (2020 est.)
$31,000 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 65

GDP (official exchange rate)

$34.084 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

3.28% (2021 est.)
0.22% (2020 est.)
2.81% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 114

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: A- (2014)

Moody's rating: A3 (2015)

Standard & Poors rating: A+ (2020)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 3.9% (2017 est.)

industry: 22.4% (2017 est.)

services: 73.7% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: agriculture 139; industry 128; services 55

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.)

Agricultural products

wheat, milk, rapeseed, barley, oats, potatoes, rye, beans, pork, poultry


processed foods, processed wood products, textiles, processed metals, pharmaceuticals, railroad cars, synthetic fibers, electronics

Industrial production growth rate

1.93% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 136

Labor force

955,000 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 146

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 7.7%

industry: 24.1%

services: 68.1% (2016 est.)

Unemployment rate

7.6% (2021 est.)
8.1% (2020 est.)
6.31% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 102

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 15.5%

male: 12%

female: 19.6% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 113

Average household expenditures

on food: 17.3% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 7.9% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.2%

highest 10%: 26.3% (2015)


revenues: $12.931 billion (2020 est.)

expenditures: $14.242 billion (2020 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-0.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 61

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

comparison ranking: 149

Taxes and other revenues

21.77% (of GDP) (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 75

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$1.7 billion (2021 est.)
$918.67 million (2020 est.)
-$200.203 million (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 149


$25.248 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$20.768 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$20.539 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

comparison ranking: 79

Exports - partners

Lithuania 17%, Estonia 9%, United Kingdom 8%, Germany 7%, Russia 7% (2021)

Exports - commodities

lumber, wheat, broadcasting equipment, packaged medicines, fuel woods, hard liquors (2021)


$26.622 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$20.427 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$20.765 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

comparison ranking: 79

Imports - partners

Lithuania 15%, Russia 14%, Germany 9%, Poland 8%, Estonia 8% (2021)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, packaged medicines, broadcasting equipment, electricity, cars, natural gas (2021)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$5.491 billion (31 December 2021 est.)
$5.29 billion (31 December 2020 est.)
$4.48 billion (31 December 2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 100

Debt - external

$40.164 billion (2019 est.)
$42.488 billion (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 75

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
0.845 (2021 est.)
0.876 (2020 est.)
0.893 (2019 est.)
0.847 (2018 est.)
0.885 (2017 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)


installed generating capacity: 3.089 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 6.706 billion kWh (2020 est.)

exports: 2.548 billion kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 4.173 billion kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 377 million kWh (2020 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 105; consumption 111; exports 46; imports 45; transmission/distribution losses 135

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 33.4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0.1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 3.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 47.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 15.9% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 39,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 3,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 40,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 1,600 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 39,900 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 165

Refined petroleum products - exports

16,180 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 72

Refined petroleum products - imports

54,370 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 77

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 1.068 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 1.068 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

8.45 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 149,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 5.693 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 2.608 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 110

Energy consumption per capita

86.645 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 66


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 191,798 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 10 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 123

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 2,161,725 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 115 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 148

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: the telecom market continues to benefit from investment and from regulatory measures aimed at developing 5G and fiber-based infrastructure; there is effective competition in the mobile market; these multi-service operators have focused investment on fiber networks and on expanding the reach of 5G (2023)

domestic: fixed-line roughly 10 per 100 and mobile-cellular nearly 115 per 100 subscriptions (2021)

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 users

total: 1.729 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 91% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 141

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 490,569 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 26 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 92


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 3 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 53

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 4,058,762 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 4.01 million (2018) mt-km


42 (2021)

comparison ranking: total 100

Airports - with paved runways


note: paved runways have a concrete or asphalt surface but not all have facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control; the length of a runway required for aircraft to safely operate depends on a number of factors including the type of aircraft, the takeoff weight (including passengers, cargo, and fuel), engine types, flap settings, landing speed, elevation of the airport, and average maximum daily air temperature; paved runways can reach a length of 5,000 m (16,000 ft.), but the “typical” length of a commercial airline runway is between 2,500-4,000 m (8,000-13,000 ft.)

Airports - with unpaved runways


note: unpaved runways have a surface composition such as grass or packed earth and are most suited to the operation of light aircraft; unpaved runways are usually short, often less than 1,000 m (3,280 ft.) in length; airports with unpaved runways often lack facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control


1 (2021)


1,213 km gas, 417 km refined products (2018)


total: 2,216 km (2020) 257 km electrified

comparison ranking: total 69


total: 70,244 km (2018)

paved: 15,158 km (2018)

unpaved: 55,086 km (2018)

comparison ranking: total 68


300 km (2010) (navigable year-round)

comparison ranking: 101

Merchant marine

total: 80

by type: container ship 2, general cargo 30, oil tanker 9, other 39 (2022)

comparison ranking: total 100

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Riga, Ventspils

Transportation - note

Latvia operates one PC 5 or 6 class icebreaker in the Baltic Sea
note - PC indicates a Polar Class vessel: PC 5 - year-round operation in medium first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions (ice thickness up to 70-120 cm); PC 6 - summer/autumn operation in medium first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions (ice thickness up to 30-70 cm)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

National Armed Forces (Nacionalie Brunotie Speki): Land Forces (Latvijas Sauszemes Speki), Naval Force (Latvijas Juras Speki, includes Coast Guard (Latvijas Kara Flote)), Air Force (Latvijas Gaisa Speki), National Guard (aka Land Guard or Zemessardze)  (2023)

note: the armed forces, the Defense Intelligence and Security Service, the Constitution Protection Bureau, and the National Guard are subordinate to the Ministry of Defense; the State Police, State Border Guards, and State Security Service are under the Ministry of Interior; the State Border Guard may become part of the armed forces during an emergency

Military expenditures

2.3% of GDP (2023 est.)
2.1% of GDP (2022 est.)
2.1% of GDP (2021)
2.2% of GDP (2020)
2% of GDP (2019)

comparison ranking: 77

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 6,700 regular military forces; approximately 9,500 National Guard (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Latvian military's inventory consists of a mixture of Soviet-era and limited amounts of more modern, Western-produced systems acquired since the country joined NATO in 2004; in recent years, the UK and US have been the leading suppliers of military equipment (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription (abolished 2007) (2023)

note 1: in 2023, the Latvian Parliament approved a plan to reinstate mandatory military service for men aged 18-27 (women voluntarily) beginning in 2024; service would be for 12 months in the Land Forces or alternatively in internal affairs, health, or welfare structures

note 2: as of 2019, women comprised about 16% of the military's full-time personnel

Military deployments

130 Kosovo (KFOR/NATO) (2023)

Military - note

the National Armed Forces are responsible for the defense of the country’s sovereignty and territory; they also have some domestic security responsibilities, including coast guard functions, search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, and providing support to other internal security services, including the State Border Service, the State Police, and the State Security Service; the Military Police provides protection to the president and other government officials, foreign dignitaries, and key facilities; for external defense, Latvia’s primary security focus is Russia, which has only increased since the Russian seizure of Crimea in 2014 and full-scale attack on Ukraine in 2022; in 2004, it joined NATO and the EU, which it depends on to play a decisive role in Latvia’s security policy; Latvia is actively engaged in both NATO and the EU, as well as bilaterally with its allies in order to bolster its own security and that of the surrounding region; the Latvian military has participated in NATO and EU missions abroad and regularly conducts training and exercises with NATO and EU partner forces; Latvia also hosts NATO partner forces and is a member of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, a pool of high-readiness military forces from 10 Baltic and Scandinavian countries designed to respond to a wide range of contingencies in the North Atlantic, Baltic Sea, and High North regions

the Land Forces have a single mechanized brigade; since 2017, Latvia has hosted a Canadian-led multinational NATO ground force battlegroup as part of the Alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence initiative; in addition, Latvia hosts a NATO-led divisional headquarters (Multinational Division North; activated 2020), which coordinates training and preparation activities of its respective subordinate NATO battlegroups in Estonia and Latvia; the Land Forces are supplemented by the National Guard, which has four regionally based infantry brigades that are manned mostly by part-time personnel supplemented by some full-time professional soldiers; in peacetime, the brigades participate in emergency, fire and rescue operations, and in the “elimination of consequences caused by emergency situations”

the Air Force has no combat aircraft; NATO has provided air protection for Latvia since 2004 through its Baltics Air Policing mission; NATO member countries that possess air combat capabilities voluntarily contribute to the mission on four-month rotations; the Naval Forces feature a few patrol vessels and minesweepers; the military also has logistics, military police, special operations forces, and training commands (2023)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Latvia-Belarus: Belarus and Latvia signed joint demarcation map in September 2008

Latvia-Estonia: demarcation reportedly completed in 1998

Latvia-Lithuania: boundary demarcation was completed by the end of 1998; the Latvian parliament has not ratified its 1998 maritime boundary treaty with Lithuania, primarily due to concerns over oil exploration rights

Latvia-Russia: Russia demands better Latvian treatment of ethnic Russians in Latvia; in March 2007, Latvia and Russia signed a border treaty, which includes Latvia withdrawing claims to a district now in Russia that was part of Latvia before WWII; the permanent demarcation of the boundary between Latvia and Russia was completed and came into force in April 2018; 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

refugees (country of origin): 32,470 (Ukraine) (as of 15 August 2023)

stateless persons: 195,354 (2022); 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