Official statistics portal
CSB
Official statistics of Latvia
Official Statistics Portal of Latvia
Press release

More rapid decline in population

Census data of the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia (CSB) show that  at the beginning of 2021 population of Latvia accounted for 1 million 893 thousand people, which is 14.5 thousand people fewer than a year ago. "The decrease in the population over the last year is comparable to the current population of Cēsis," says Baiba Zukula, Director of the CSB Social Statistics Department.

Last year, the population decreased more rapidly - by 0.76 % compared to 0.64 % a year earlier, including a decrease of 0.59 % due to negative natural growth and 0.17 %  due to migration.

Over the last four years, negative natural growth has significantly outweighed the gap between negative migration flows.

Since the previous census in 2011, when the population was surveyed at their registered residence, their number has decreased by 177 thousand. This is the total approximate number of population in the three large cities together - Daugavpils, Liepāja and Rēzekne.

Last year, the lowest birth rate in the last hundred years was registered

Last year, 17.6 thousand children were born in Latvia - by 1 234 or 6.6 % less than in 2019, which is the lowest indicator over the last hundred years, whereas 28.9 thousand persons died - that is by 1 135 or 4.1 % more than in 2019. Compared to recent years, mortality increased sharply in November and December 2020. Last year, 11.3 thousand more deaths than births were registered (in 2019 - by 8.9 thousand), and this is the largest indicator of negative natural growth since 2005. As a result of long-term international migration, the population, in turn, decreased by only 3.2 thousand, which is the lowest indicator since 1989.

Mobility of the population has decreased as a result of the pandemic

In 2020, due to the pandemic, the mobility of the population has decreased, which also affected the indicators of international long-term migration - compared to 2019, the number of immigrants decreased by 21.2 %, but the number of emigrants - by 17.8 %. 8.8 thousand persons came to Latvia from other countries (by 2.4 thousand less than in 2019), whereas 12.0 thousand left (by 2.6 thousand less). 2.5 thousand or 28 % of immigrants came from European Union countries (excluding the United Kingdom). 2.0 thousand people or 22.2 % of the total number of immigrants came from the United Kingdom (2.2 thousand in 2019). The number of immigrants from the CIS countries decreased - 2.9 thousand immigrants (by 1.3 thousand or 31 % less than in 2019), including 1.0 thousand immigrants from Russia. The number of immigrants from other countries fell by more than a third. While, for example, 830 people arrived from India in 2019, who are now considered to be usual residents of Latvia, then last year the number of these people was almost halved - only 427.

In 2020, 4.7 thousands. 53 % of immigrants were re-immigrants - citizens and non-citizens of Latvia, as well as residents whose nationality is different, but the country of birth is Latvia (in 2019 - 5.1 thousand or 46 %). The remaining part was made up of immigrants who have no legal xommitment with Latvia.

Last year, almost 12 thousand persons left Latvia. In 2020, 7.9 thousand emigrated to the European Union countries, which was 13.4 % less than a year earlier. Emigration to the United Kingdom decreased by 37 % in 2020 - 1.9 thousand emigrated (In 2019 - 2.9 thousand). 2.3 thousand people left for Germany (23 % less than in 2019), slightly more than a thousand emigrants went to the Netherlands. Emigration to the CIS countries also decreased - by 11 %. 69 % of emigrants were Latvian citizens (in 2019 - 72 %).

Demography trends in Latvia; 2018–2020

 

2018

2019

2020

2019 against 2018,%

2020 against 2019,%

per 1 000 inhabitants

2018

2019

Population, at the end of the year

1,919,968

1,907,675

1,893,223

-0.6

-0.8

x

x

Marriages

13,058

12,861

10,702

-1.5

-16.8

6.7

5.6

Divorces

5,967

5,971

5,206

+0.4

-12.8

3.1

2.7

Births

19,314

18,786

17,552

-2.7

-6.6

9.8

9.2

Deaths

28,820

27,719

28,854

-3.8

+4.1

14.5

15.2

Immigration

10,909

11,223

8,840

+2.9

-21.2

5.8

4.6

Emigration

15,814

14,583

11,990

-7.8

-17.8

7.6

6.3

Population ageing still observed, the average age of the population is 42.8

The slight birth increase in 2013–2016 facilitated rise in the number of children and young people, but since 2017 the birth rate has been decreasing, and in 2020, 4.4 thousand less children were born (compare to 2016). The number of children under the age of 14 decreased by 2 210 last year, however, their share is 16.0 % of the total population for the second consecutive year. The population aged 15–64 continued to decrease - by 14.5 thousand. or 1.2 %, and the population over the age of 65 still increased - in 2020 by 2.3 thousand or 0.6 %. Their share in the total population increased from 20.5 % to 20.8 % over the year. The average age of the population in Latvia is 42.8. In the regions it ranges from 40.7 years in Pierīga to 45.0 years in Latgale.

Since the previous census in 2011, the number of children aged 0–14 has increased by 9 thousand (3 %), the population aged 15–64 decreased by 199 thousand (14 %), but the number of elderly people (aged 65 and over) increased by 13 thousand  (3 %). 

Number of Latvians has decreased by 0.4 %

In 2020, as a result of negative natural growth, the population of all major ethnicities of Latvia decreased: Belarussians - by 2.4 %, Poles - by 2.0 %, Russians - by 1.6 %. The number of Latvians has decreased by 0.4 %, but their share in the total population, despite the decrease in the absolute number, increased by 0.2 percentage points and at the beginning of 2021 was 62.7 %.

88 % of all residents of the country were born in Latvia and 12 % - abroad. 1.2 % of Latvians were born in European Union countries, 5.8 % - in the Russian Federation, 2.1 % - in Belarus, 1.7 % - in Ukraine, 1.2 % - in other countries. Among children under 18 years of age, 97.0 % were born in Latvia, followed by 1.1 % of children born in Great Britain, 0.3 % in Ireland and 0.3 % in Russia.

By nationality, 86.7 % of population of Latvia are Latvian citizens (at the beginning of 2020 - 86.3 %), 10.1 % are non-citizens (10.4 %), 2.1 % - Russian citizens (2.1 %), 1.1 % - citizens of other countries. 51 % of all non-citizens live in Riga, and they are 16 % of all residents of Riga. Of all non-citizens of Latvia, 74 % of the population is over the age of 50, 62 % of all foreigners are of this age, and only 37 % of Latvian citizens are over the age of 50.

Almost half of Latvian males are married, females - 41 %

At the beginning of 2021, 49 % of adult males (aged 18 and over) and 41 % of females were married, 35 % of males and 25 % of females were unmarried. Of all unmarried adults of the respective sex, 71 % of males and 65 % of females were under 39 years of age.

Population is growing in 15 Pierīga and in four other counties

There were 1 million 290 thousand or 68 % of urban population and 603 thousand or 32 % of the rural population in the country. 

More than half (52 %) of the country's population lives in Riga and Pierīga. In recent years, there has been a trend that residents of the capital often move to the Pierīga region.

In 2020, the population increased only in Pierīga by 0,9 % or 3.4 thousand. In turn, the largest decrease in the population was in Latgale - by 1.8 % (4.5 thousand), in Vidzeme - by 1.1 % (2.1 thousand), in Kurzeme by 1.1 % (2.6 thousand), In Zemgale - by 0.9 % (2.1 thousand). The population of Riga decreased by 1.0 % or 6.5 thousand.

In the last 10 years Latgale has lost 17 % (52 thousand) population, Vidzeme - 14 % (29 thousand), Kurzeme - 13 % (35 thousand), Zemgale - 11 % (27 thousand), Riga - 7 % (45 thousand), and only the population of Pierīga has increased by 2 % (7 thousand).

Last year, the population also decreased in eight of the nine cities of the republic, except for Jūrmala, where there was an increase of 0.5 % or 263 people. The population decreased the most in Ventspils - by 1.3% (427 people), in Daugavpils by 1.2 % (960), in Rigā – by 1.0 % (6 502), in Rēzekne by 1.0 % (261), in Jēkabpils – by 0.9 % (207), in Liepāja – by 0.5 % (349), in Jelgava – by 0.3 % (181), whereas the least – in Valmiera – by 0.2 % (47). In all these cities, the number of deaths exceeded the number of births. There was a positive net migration in Jurmala, Liepaja and Valmiera.

In 2020, in 19 counties out of 110 the number of population increased, and 15 of them were Pierīga counties. Outside Pierīga, a very small increase in population (by 1–4 persons) has been observed in Nīca, Rucava and Skrīveri counties. Larger increase – by 35 persons more than a year earlier was registered in Strenči county mainly due to domestic migration from Riga and Valmiera. In all counties, except Sigulda county, there was a positive net migration, whereas a positive natural increase was registered in 9 counties. The largest increase in population was in Stopiņi county (5.5 % or 638 persons).

Usually resident population changes in counties, 2020, %

Map - Usually resident population changes in counties, 2020, %

As a result of the new territorial reform, instead of 110 counties, there will be 35 counties in Latvia. In terms of population, the largest will be Ogre county - 57.6 thousand and Valmiera county - 51.4 thousand, whereas the smallest one - Valka county with only 7.6 thousand inhabitants and Saulkrasti county - with 9.2 thousand. Last year, the population increased in seven new counties (Mārupe, Ropaži, Ādaži, Ķekava, Saulkrasti, Olaine and Salaspils). Five of them also had positive natural growth, but immigration was the main driver of population growth.

32 % of population in Latvia live in Riga

Less than 615 thousand people live in Riga, which is 32 % of the total population of the country and 48 % of the total urban population.

Since 2020, data have also been published on 58 Riga and 27 Valmiera neighbourhoods. Most Riga residents live in Purvciems - 54 thousand, and there are 41–45 thousand inhabitants in Ķengarags, Imanta and Pļavniekieki.

The largest share of children was in Pierīga

The number of children under 14 years of age in 2020 increased by less than a thousand only in Pierīga, but decreased the most in Riga - by 1.8 thousand. The largest share of children and adolescents was in Pierīga - 18.8 % of the total population of the region, the smallest one - in Latgale - 13.7 %. In the cities, the share of children ranged from 18.2 % in Jelgava to 14.7 % in Daugavpils. The county with the youngest population was Mārupe county - 28.6 % of all residents were children under 14 years of age, but in Aglona, Zilupe and Baltinava counties - only 10.3–10.8 %.

The share of the population aged 15–64 varies from 63.1 % in Pierīga to 63.7 % in Latgale. The number of working age population increased only in Pierīga - by 1.3 thousand, the largest decrease was in Riga - by 5.2 thousand. and in Latgale - by 4 thousand. The lowest number of population at this age was in Valmiera (60.9 %), and among the counties - the most in Baltinava (69.1 %), the least in Strenči county (59.0 %).

In all regions, except Pierīga, more than a fifth of the population is over the age of 65 (most in Latgale - 22.7 %, least in Pierīga - 18.1 %). Counties with the largest amount of elderly population are Strenči and Ērgļi - 26.8 % and 27.7 %, respectively, of the population there are over the age of 65, the least of the elderly population is in Mārupe county - 8.8 %.

Latvia has the largest population decline among the Baltic States

At the beginning of 2021, the population of Estonia was 1 million 330 thousand (1.2 thousand more than at the beginning of 2020). In Estonia, too, the natural increase was negative - 2.6 thousand, but for six consecutive years there was a positive net migration - in 2020, 3.8 thousand.In Estonia, the population increased by 0.1 %1.

In Lithuania, in turn, the preliminary population at the beginning of 2021 was 2 million 795 thousand (population growth - 1.1 thousand) Lithuania also had a negative natural increase of 18.9 thousand, whereas a positive net migration of 20.0 thousand2 The population of Lithuania remains stable.

Data source: Eurostat [demo_gind]

1 Website of Statistics Estonia

2 Website of the Lithuanian Department of Statistics (Statistics Lithuania)

With the publication of demographic data, the CSB starts transferring the 2021 Population and Housing Census indicators to data users. Unlike previous censuses in 2021, only the information available in administrative data sources is used, completely abandoning the survey of the population on the Internet and in their residence.

The annual population estimate has been prepared using data from the Population Register of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs and other administrative sources.

Information on the population of administrative territories at the beginning of 2021, as well as data on the main demographic indicators are available on the Official statistics portal in the section “Population”. This year, the indicators characterizing the population have been supplemented with new statistics on the population by the year of arrival in Latvia and the residence of the person a year before the census.

Data are also available for densely populated areas (accommodation or workplaces where at least 50 permanent residents live or work in buildings, not further than 200 m apart). It is an alternative indicator to the existing administrative territories and territorial units - towns and villages - to ensure comparability. In turn, this summer the indicators characterizing the population will be available in a 1 km2 network.

The next 2021 Population and Housing Census indicators for households and families will be published on 30 July. Housing indicators will be published on 24 November and education and economic activity indicators on 15 June next year. Already now, the Official statistics portal provides indicators characterizing the education of the Latvian population in 2019 and 2020 in accordance with the methodology used in the census, using administrative data.

 

Methodological explanations

 

The CSB is starting to publish population estimates by their registered residence. Currently, data on the number of inhabitants by registered residence in 2020 and early 2021 are available. Data from previous years will also be gradually recalculated. Statistics are published in administrative territories in accordance with the valid classification of administrative territories and territorial units, which is published in the sectionClassification” of the CSB website.

 

The Law on Administrative Territories and Populated Areas (adopted on 10.06.2020) defines new administrative territories, their administrative centres and territorial division units, which will enter into force on 1 July 2021. Statistics on the preliminary population in the new territorial division are also published on the portal.

 

Natural increase – the difference between the number of births and the number of deaths in a given period.
Net migration – difference between the total number of persons arriving in the country for usual residence for at least one year and total number of persons departing from it for usual residence or for at least one year.

 

Media requests:
Communication Section
E-pasts: media@csb.gov.lv
Phone: +371 67366989 , +371 27880666

More information on data:
Sigita Šulca
Social Statistics Methodology Section
E-mail: Sigita.Sulca@csb.gov.lv
Phone: +371 6736680

Share