13% fewer families in Latvia than a decade ago

In preparation for the Population and Housing Census 2021, the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) is starting to publish statistics on families and the level of education of the population.

At the beginning of 2020, there were 508,700 families in Latvia, which in comparison with the results of the Population and Housing Census 2011 has decreased by 79,000 or 13%.

The population has decreased by 167,000 or 8% during this period. During the same period, the share of single-parent families has increased.

In the Population and Housing Census a “family” is regarded as a married or cohabiting couple with or without children, as well as single parents with one or more offspring. Only direct (first degree) kinship between descendants and parents is regarded – so a grandparent with his or her grandchildren is not counted as a family in this context.

Also, the ages of the offspring is not considered – adult men and women who are living with their parents also have the status of sons and daughters. According to the census methodology, several families can live in one household – for example, a grandmother with a grandfather and one of their children with their child (in this case two families are formed – a married couple without children and one parent with a child). One person does not form a family and persons living in institutions are not counted.

At the beginning of 2020, at least one child, under the age of 18, was growing up in 220,000 families or in 43.2% of all families in Latvia.

The most common type of a family is a single parent with one or more minor children (23.6%), followed by couples without children (22.3%), while 16.2% are married couples with minor children.

Compared to 2011, the share of single-parent families, especially formed by single mothers, has significantly increased. The growth of single-parent families is related to several factors: Latvia has the highest divorce rates in the European Union (3.1 divorces per 1,000 population per year in 2019, where almost half of the cases were families with minor children), a high index of extramarital births (about 40% of children are born out of wedlock each year) as well as a very high rate of emigration (more than a quarter of those who left the country are men aged 25-44, of which one third were married). 

Families where one of the parents does not live permanently in Latvia are considered single-parent families, which contributes towards the figures, too.

LSM.LV

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