Average living space per person increases
Data of the Population and Housing Census 20213 collected by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) show that at the beginning of 2021, there were 1 063 939 conventional dwellings (apartments or private houses)1 in Latvia, and 811 thousand or 76.1 % of them are occupied by usually resident population of Latvia2.
The average living space per person of an occupied conventional dwelling is 32.3 m2, which is 4 m2 more than at the time of the Population and Housing Census 2011 (28.3 m2 in 2011).
The number of dwellings with less than 30 m2 per occupant has decreased by 21.1 % over the last 10 years: from 464.4 thousand in 2011 to 366.5 thousand in 2021. The number of dwellings with a floor space of 30 m2 or more per occupant increased by a third or 33.6 % (from 332.3 thousand to 443.9 thousand, respectively).
The increase in the living space per occupant can be attributed to the decrease in the population, while the number of occupied dwellings has even slightly increased (807.8 thousand in 2011 and 811 thousand in 2021). The number of people living alone has increased significantly, and the floor space of dwellings has increased.
Largest living space per occupant is in Pierīga
The largest living space per occupant - 39.8 m² - is in Pierīga, which has the highest increase in living space per occupant since 2011 compared to other regions (by 5.95 m²). In turn, Riga has the smallest living space per occupant - 28.35 m², although it has the second highest increase in living space per occupant (by 4.4 m²). In Vidzeme the floor space per occupant is 34.3 m², in Zemgale - 31.5 m², in Kurzeme - 31.3 m², in Latgale - 30.9 m².
In all cities, except Jūrmala, the living space per inhabitant is below the Latvian average - that is less than 32.3 m². In Jūrmala it is 36.7 m² per inhabitant. The smallest floor space per occupant in the municipalities is in Aizkraukle municipality - 26.8 m², and the largest - in Garkalne municipality - 75.6 m² per occupant, which is more than twice the average in Latvia.
Average living space per occupant (density standard) in occupied conventional dwellings in cities and municipalities at the beginning of 2021
The share of facilitated dwellings continues to increase
The share of dwellings with a flush toilet has increased by 8.7 percentage points in ten years, reaching 87.7 % of all occupied dwellings in 2021. At the beginning of this year, 77.4 % of occupied dwellings had central heating, an increase of 7.7 percentage points compared to 2011. 84.9 % of dwellings have a bath or a shower, that is an increase of 6.6 percentage points. 93.1 % of dwellings have a water-pipe, that is an increase of 4.6 percentage points compared to the previous census.
The largest increase in the share of dwellings with central heating is in Zemgale, where it increased from 60.9 % to 71.2 % (by 10.3 percentage points). The highest increase in dwellings with water-pipe (by 7.8 percentage points) is in Latgale, rising to 82.1 % in 2021. The largest increase in dwellings with a flush toilet is in Vidzeme, up by 12.8 percentage points, reaching 78.6 %. Similarly, Vidzeme has the highest increase in dwellings with a built-in bath or shower since 2011, with 66.2 % in 2011 and 74.6 % in 2021.
The highest number of dwellings was built in the 20th century (1960s and 1970s)
Less than a tenth (7.6 %) of all dwellings were built in the last 20 years, almost two thirds (59.1 %) were built between 1961 and 2000, and one third (32.6 %) - before 1961.
Dwellings in private houses and apartment buildings are built with equal frequency
Of all the dwellings built in the last 10 years (26.7 thousand), almost a half (47.2 %) are in private houses, slightly more (48.3 %) in apartment buildings. Only 4.2 % of dwellings are in buildings with two dwellings (e.g. semi-detached houses).
Nearly one in four dwellings in Latvia is unoccupied4
Of all conventional dwellings, 811 thousand dwellings or 76.2 % are permanently occupied, 252.9 thousand dwellings or 23.8 % are without permanent residents - vacant or reserved for seasonal use, as second residences or occupied by persons who are not usually resident population of Latvia. Since 2011, the vacancy rate has increased by 3 percentage points.
The highest share of unoccupied dwellings is among dwellings built before 1961, with 35.3 % of all dwellings built during this period being unoccupied. However, the share of unoccupied dwellings remains high in buildings built after 2010, with 34.2 % of new dwellings built in the last 10 years having no permanent occupants.
One third (35.6 %) of the occupied dwellings are located in Riga, 17.9 % - in the Pierīga region, 14 % - in the Latgale region, 12.3 % - in the Kurzeme region, 11.2 % - in the Zemgale region and 8.9 % - in the Vidzeme region.
The lowest share of unoccupied dwellings is in Riga (15 % of all dwellings), followed by Zemgale (24.5 %), Pierīga (26.1 %), Vidzeme and Kurzeme, each with 28.7 % of unoccupied dwellings, and Latgale, with 30.2 % of all dwellings in the region unoccupied.
The highest growth of new dwellings is in Pierīga and Riga
Of the 26.7 thousand dwellings built in the last 10 years, 44 % were built in Pierīga and 40.1 % in Riga, followed by Zemgale with 5.3 %, Kurzeme with 4.1 %, Latgale with 3.2 % and Vidzeme with 3.2 %.
The highest share of newly built dwellings is in Babīte, Mārupe and Stopiņi municipalities, where almost one in five dwellings was built in the last 10 years. Among the cities, the highest share of new dwellings is in Jurmala (6.1 %) and Riga (3.3 %), while in Daugavpils, Liepāja, Jēkabpils and Rēzekne less than half a percent of all dwellings have been built in the last decade.
Dreiliņi built in the last 20 years
In Riga, the highest share of new dwellings in the last 20 years is in Dreiliņi, where 3.1 thousand or 98.7 % of all housing in the neighbourhood was built between 2001 and 2020, followed by 887 or 79.4 % in Skanste, 119 or 56.7 % in Kleisti and 103 or 52.6% in Beberbeķi. After 2016, housing construction continues to develop faster in Skanste - 127 or 11.4 % of the neighbourhood's dwellings.
Share of dwellings built in 2001-2020 in the total number of conventional dwellings in Riga neighbourhoods at the beginning of 2021
(as per cent)
1 A conventional dwelling is a room or suite of rooms and its accessories (e.g., lobbies and passageways) in a permanent building or structurally separated part thereof which, by the way it has been built, rebuilt or converted, is intended for habitation by one household throughout the whole year (e.g., house or flat). Dwelling usually has a definite address.
2Usually resident population – all inhabitants whose permanent place of residence is the respective administrative territory. Only persons who have lived or who intend to live in their place of usual residence for at least 12 consecutive months. Starting with 1 January 2012 the number of population is determined according to new methodology, using logistic regression model. The model uses data from 15 different administrative registers
3 Unlike previous censuses, in 2021, the information available in administrative data sources is mainly used, completely abandoning the survey of the population on the Internet and in their places of residence. Data on housing indicators were obtained mainly from the State Land Service (SLS) Real Estate State Cadastre Information System (NĪVKIS), which was supplemented with other external data. CSB survey data and Population and Housing Census 2011 data were also used. More comprehensive housing census methodology is available on the Official Statistics Portal.
4 Unoccupied conventional dwellings are conventional dwellings which are not the usual residence of any person at the time of the census. These are dwellings reserved for seasonal use or for use as second residences, vacant dwellings, as well as conventional dwellings occupied by persons who are not included in the census or who are not usually resident population of Latvia.