Latvia

Country Summary

2022 population pyramid

Introduction

Background

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. Latvia reestablished its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Geography

Area

total: 64,589 sq km

land: 62,249 sq km

water: 2,340 sq km

Climate

maritime; wet, moderate winters

Natural resources

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

People and Society

Population

1,842,226 (2022 est.)

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.)

Languages

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.)

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 growth rate

-1.11% (2022 est.)

Government

Government type

parliamentary republic

Capital

name: Riga

Executive branch

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

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

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)

Economy

Economic overview

high-income, EU-member Baltic economy; export-driven; major bribery and money-laundering scandals suggest widespread financial corruption; strong but gradual post COVID-19 recovery; regional tension with Belarus; highly developed transit services

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$56.92 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$29,900 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

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

Industries

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

Exports

$20.23 billion (2020 est.)

Exports - partners

Lithuania 16%, Estonia 10%, Russia 9%, Germany 7%, Sweden 6%, United Kingdom 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

lumber, broadcasting equipment, whiskey and other hard liquors, wheat, packaged medicines (2019)

Imports

$19.84 billion (2020 est.)

Imports - partners

Russia 21%, Lithuania 14%, Germany 9%, Poland 7%, Estonia 7% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, broadcasting equipment, cars, packaged medicines, aircraft (2019)


Page last updated: Friday, May 13, 2022