Latvia’s demographic crunch is becoming ever more acute with the population declining by more than 14,000 during 2018, according to latest data compiled by the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia (CSB).
At the beginning of 2019 the population of Latvia accounted for 1,920,000 people, which is 14,400 fewer than a year ago, a decline of 0.7 % on the year.
In 2018, as a result of international long-term migration population of the country dropped by 4,900 people, which is the lowest indicator recorded over the past 20 years, whereas the negative natural increase was twice as big at 9,500.
One crumb of comfort is that over the last three years, the rate of population decline a=has at least been slowing slightly – the decline registered last year accounted for 0.74 %, compared to 0.96 % in 2016.
Nevertheless the challenge remains a stern one. Last year, 19,300 children were born (1,514 children fewer than in 2017), whereas 28,800 people passed away (63 more than the year before). The negative natural increase constituting 9,500 people is the highest recorded over the past seven years.
In 2018, 10,900 people arrived in Latvia from other countries (one thousand more than in 2017) and while 15,800 people left the country (1,900 thousand more than in 2017).
Out of the immigrants, 4,500 people or 41 % came from European Union (EU) countries. Most of the immigrants – 8,700 people or 77 % of the total – were citizens and non-citizens of Latvia as well as people having other citizenship but born in Latvia, suggesting some trend of returning home.
Out of the emigrants, 13,200 people emigrated to EU countries, and United Kingdom and Germany were the most popular destinations.
In respect to the citizenship, 86.1 % of the population of Latvia were citizens of Latvia (85.9 % at the beginning of 2018), 10.7 % were non-citizens of Latvia (11.1 %) and 2.2 % were citizens of Russia (2.2 %). The majority of non-citizens of Latvia (51 %) lived in Riga, constituting 17 % of the total Riga population. Out of all non-citizens of Latvia, 71 % were aged 50 and over; the share of people having citizenship of other countries and belonging to this age group accounted for 64 % and that of Latvians only for 37 %.