Latvia's resident population shrank by nearly 16,000 people in 2017

  • 2018-05-29
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Latvia’s resident population decreased by 15,700 people last year to 1,934,000 people at the end of 2017, according to the latest data released today by the Central Statistics Bureau (CSB).

LETA was told at CSB that the population shrank by 0.8 percent in 2017 as compared to 1 percent in 2016. Latvia’s urban population reduced by 8,300 people or 0.6 percent, while the rural population decreased by 7,400 or 1.2 percent.

In 2017, the number of deaths exceeded the number of births by 7,900, being the highest indicator recorded over the past four years (6,600 in 2016). Last year, 20,800 children were born (1,140 children fewer than in 2016), whereas 28,700 thousand people passed away (177 more than in 2016).

As a result of international long-term migration, population fell by 7,800 in 2017 (12,200 in 2016). Last year, 9,900 people arrived in Latvia from other countries (1,600 more than in 2016), while 17,700 left the country (2,900 fewer than in 2016). Approximately half (55 percent) of immigrants are related to Latvia (e.g., born here, etc.).

For the first time since 2007, net migration was lower than net natural increase, indicating a drop in the emigration rate.

In regional breakdown, population growth was recorded only in Riga Region where the number of residents rose by 2,300 or 0.6 percent. Internal migration is the key factor influencing this growth, however natural increase in Riga Region has been positive already for three years in a row.

The most notable population decline was again registered in Latgale region – of 5,400 people or 2 percent, which is 0.3 percentage points less than in 2016. The population of Vidzeme reduced by 3,300 (1.7 percent), as did the population of Kurzeme (by 3,300 or 1.3 percent), Zemgale (2,700 or 1.1 percent), and Riga (3,500 or 0.5 percent). One third of the total population live in Riga.

As a result of a slight increase in births, number of children aged 0–14 grew by 13,00 over the past five years (by 1,700 in 2017), constituting 15.8 percent of the total population at the beginning of 2018 (14.4 percent at the beginning of 2013). The highest share of children was recorded in Riga Region – 18.1 percent of the region’s total population, while the lowest share of children was recorded in Latgale region – 13,700.

In 2017, population in the age group 15–64 kept declining – by 18,400 or 1.5 percent. The largest share of working-age population was recorded in Latgale (64.7 percent), while the smallest in Kurzeme (63.2 percent).

Population aged 65 and over kept growing – by 900 in 2017. Its share in the total population rose from 19.9 percent at the beginning of 2017 to 20.1 percent at the beginning of 2018. In all regions, people aged 65 and over account for approximately one fifth (largest in Latgale – 21.6 percent, smallest in Riga Region – 18.1 percent) of the population.