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Countries > Latvia Latvia Flag

Languages   6 languages are spoken in Latvia. We have 303 products available for 5 of those languages.

Capital: Riga
Population: 250,000
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Latvia Map


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

Geographic coordinates: 57 00 N, 25 00 E

Map references: Europe

total: 64,100 sq km
land: 64,100 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly larger than West Virginia

Land boundaries:
total: 1,150 km
border countries : Belarus 141 km, Estonia 339 km, Lithuania 453 km, Russia 217 km

Coastline: 531 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea : 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate: maritime; wet, moderate winters

Terrain: low plain

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point : Gaizinkalns 312 m

Natural resources: minimal; amber, peat, limestone, dolomite

Land use:
arable land: 29%
permanent crops : 0%
permanent pastures: 13%
forests and woodland: 46%
other: 14% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 200 sq km 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 (1998 est.)

Natural hazards: NA

Environment - current issues: air and water pollution because of a lack of waste conversion equipment; Gulf of Riga and Daugava River heavily polluted; contamination of soil and groundwater with chemicals and petroleum products at military bases

Environment - international agreements:
party to : Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


Population: 2,366,515 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 15.8% (male 191,116; female 182,692)
15-64 years : 68.6% (male 775,481; female 847,261)
65 years and over: 15.6% (male 120,304; female 249,661) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: -0.77% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 8.27 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 14.74 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.23 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years : 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.48 male(s)/female
total population: 0.85 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 14.96 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69 years
male: 63.13 years
female: 75.17 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.18 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun: Latvian(s)
adjective: Latvian

Ethnic groups: Latvian 57.7%, Russian 29.6%, Belarusian 4.1%, Ukrainian 2.7%, Polish 2.5%, Lithuanian 1.4%, other 2%

Religions: Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox

Languages: Lettish (official), Lithuanian, Russian, other

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population :99.8%
male: NA%
female: NA%


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

Data code: LG

Government type: republic

National capital: Riga

Administrative divisions: 26 counties (singular - rajons) and 7 municipalities*: Aizkraukles Rajons, Aluksnes Rajons, Balvu Rajons, Bauskas Rajons, Cesu Rajons, Daugavpils*, Daugavpils Rajons, Dobeles Rajons, Gulbenes Rajons, Jekabpils Rajons, Jelgava*, Jelgavas Rajons, Jurmala*, Kraslavas Rajons, Kuldigas Rajons, Leipaja*, Liepajas Rajons, Limbazu Rajons, Ludzas Rajons, Madonas Rajons, Ogres Rajons, Preiju Rajons, Rezekne*, Rezeknes Rajons, Riga*, Rigas Rajons, Saldus Rajons, Talsu Rajons, Tukuma Rajons, Valkas Rajons, Valmieras Rajons, Ventspils*, Ventspils Rajons

Independence: 6 September 1991 (from Soviet Union)

National holiday: Independence Day, 18 November (1918)

Constitution: the 1991 Constitutional Law which supplements the 1922 constitution, provides for basic rights and freedoms

Legal system: based on civil law system

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA (since 8 July 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Andris BERZINS (since 5 May 2000)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the Parliament
elections:president elected by Parliament for a four-year term; election last held 17 June 1999 (next to be held by June 2003); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA elected as a compromise candidate in second phase of balloting, second round (after five rounds in first phase failed to produce a clear winner); percent of parliamentary vote - Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA 53%, Valdis BIRKAVS 20%, Ingrida UDRE 9%

Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament or Saeima (100 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections : last held 3 October 1998 (next to be held NA October 2002)
election results:percent of vote by party - People's Party 21%, LC 18%, TSP 14%, TB/LNNK 14%, Social Democrats 13%, New Party 7%; seats by party - People's Party 24, LC 21, TB/LNNK 17, TSP 16, Social Democrats 14, New Party 8

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges' appointments are confirmed by the Parliament

Political parties and leaders:Anticommunist Union or PA [P. MUCENIEKS]; Christian Democrat Union or LKDS [Talavs JUNDZIS]; Christian People's Party or KTP [Uldis AUGSTKALNS]; Democratic Party "Saimnieks" or DPS [Ziedonis CEVERS, chairman]; For Fatherland and Freedom or TB [Maris GRINBLATS], merged with LNNK; For Human Rights in a United Latvia [Janis JURKANS], a coalition of the People's Harmony Party or TSP, the Latvian Socialist Party or LSP, and the Equal Rights Movement; Green Party or LZP [Olegs BATAREVSKI]; Latvian Liberal Party or LLP [J. DANOSS]; Latvian National Conservative Party or LNNK [Andrejs KRASTINS]; Latvian National Democratic Party or LNDP [A. MALINS]; Latvian Social-Democratic Workers Party (Social Democrats) or LSDWU [Juris BOJARS and Janis ADAMSONS]; Latvian Unity Party or LVP [Alberis KAULS]; Latvia's Way or LC [Andrei PANTELEJEVS]; New Christian Party [Ainars SLESERS]; New Faction [Ingrida UDRE]; New Party [leader NA]; New Times Party [Einars REPSE]; "Our Land" or MZ [M. DAMBEKALNE]; Party of Russian Citizens or LKPP [V. SOROCHIN, V. IVANOV]; People's Party [Andris SKELE]; Political Union of Economists or TPA [Edvins KIDE]

International organization participation: BIS, CBSS, CCC, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WEU (associate partner), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Aivis RONIS
chancery: 4325 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
telephone: [1] (202) 726-8213, 8214
FAX: [1] (202) 726-6785

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission : Ambassador Brian E. CARLSON
embassy: Raina Boulevard 7, LV-1510, Riga
mailing address: PSC 78, Box R, APO AE 09723
telephone: [371] (2) 210-005
FAX : [371] (2) 226-530

Flag description: three horizontal bands of maroon (top), white (half-width), and maroon


Economy - overview: Latvia's transitional economy recovered from the 1998 Russian financial crisis, largely due to the SKELE government's budget stringency and a gradual reorientation of exports toward EU countries, lessening Latvia's trade dependency on Russia. The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized. Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization in February 1999 - the first Baltic state to join - and was invited at the Helsinki EU Summit in December 1999 to begin accession talks in early 2000. Preparing for EU membership over the next few years remains a top foreign policy goal. The high current account deficit remains a major concern

GDP: purchasing power parity - $18.6 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 6.3% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $7,800 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5%
industry :24%
services: 71% (2000)

Inflation rate - consumer price index:2.5% (2001)

Labor force:
total: 1.1 million (2001 est.)
by occupation:agriculture 15%, industry 25%, services 60% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate: 7.6% (2001 est.)

revenues: $2.4 billion
expenditures : $2.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2002 est.)

Industries: buses, vans, street and railroad cars, synthetic fibers, agricultural machinery, fertilizers, washing machines, radios, electronics, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, textiles; dependent on imports for energy, raw materials, and intermediate products

Industrial production growth rate: 6.4% (2001 est.)

Electricity - capacity: 2.018 million kW (1993)

Electricity - production: 3.301 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 5.16 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: grain, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables; meat, milk, eggs; fish

total value:$2.2 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
commodities: machinery and equipment, timber, textiles, foodstuffs
partners :Germany 17%, UK 16%, Sweden 10%, Lithuania 8% (2001 est.)

total value: $3.3 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
commodities : machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, vehicles
partners: Germany 17%, Russia 9%, Lithuania 8%, Finland 8%, Sweden 7% (2001 est.)

Debt - external: $2.6 billion (2000 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: $96.2 million (1995)
note: commitments from the West and international institutions, $525 million (1992-95)

Currency: 1 Latvian lat (LVL) = 100 santims; introduced NA March 1993

Exchange rates:lati per US dollar - 0.6384 (January 2002), 0.628 (2001), 0.607 (2000), 0.585 (1999), 0.590 (1998), 0.581 (1997)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 734,693 (2000)

Telephone system: inadequate, but is being modernized to provide an international capability independent of the Moscow international switch; more facilities are being installed for individual use
domestic: aexpansion underway in intercity trunk line connections, rural exchanges, and mobile systems; still many unsatisfied subscriber applications
international:international connections are now available via cable and a satellite earth station at Riga, enabling direct connections for most calls (1998)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 8, FM 56, shortwave 1 (1998)

Radios: 1.76 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 44 (plus 31 repeaters) (1995)

Televisions:1.22 million (1997)


total: 2,412 km
broad gauge: 2,379 km 1.520-m gauge (271 km electrified) (1992)
narrow gauge: 33 km 0.750-m gauge (2001)

total:59,178 km
paved: 22,843 km
unpaved: 36,335 km (1998 est.)

Waterways: 300 km perennially navigable

Pipelines: crude oil 750 km; refined products 780 km; natural gas 560 km (1992)

Ports and harbors: Liepaja, Riga, Ventspils

Merchant marine:
total:6 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 30,119 GRT/30,572 DWT
ships by type: cargo 1, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 4

Airports: 25 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
2,438 to 3,047 m:7
1,524 to 2,437 m:1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m:4 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 12
2,438 to 3,047 m : 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 7 (2001)


Military branches: Ground Forces, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces, Security Forces, Border Guard, Home Guard (Zemessardze)

Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 591,592 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males:464,843 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 19,114 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:$87 million (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.2% (FY01)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: bthe Russian Duma refuses to ratify boundary delimitation treaty with Latvia; the Latvian Parliament has not ratified its 1998 maritime boundary treaty with Lithuania, primarily due to concerns over oil exploration rights

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for opiates and cannabis from Southwest Asia and cocaine from Latin America to Western Europe and Scandinavia; produces illicit amphetamines for export

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