Latvians' culture habits compare favorably with rest of EU

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Latvia is known for its lavish patronage of culture. However the proportion of Latvians consuming culture has decreased from 2006 to 2016, according to research by the Latvian Academy of Culture and Culturelab. 

The research says Latvians spent an average €48.54 annually on culture; however there's no figure provided for the previous years. Latvians spend twice that amount on alcohol and tobacco.

Of this amount, Latvians spent €2.40 on attending museums, libraries and zoos; €17.57 on concerts, theater and cinema; €7.28 on books; and €21.29 on periodicals, newspapers and magazines.

People in cities spent €54.22 on culture annually while those in the countryside made do with €36.63 a year.

However just 5% of Latvians did not attend any culture event within the last year.

In many respects Latvians expressed more interest in culture than they do on the average in the EU.

For example, 49% of Latvians attended a museum last year, compared with the EU average of 37%. A further 43% went to the theater last year against the EU average of 28%. 

72% read at least one book last year, against the EU average of 68%. A further 55% attended pop music concerts against the EU average of 35%. 

24% attended the opera, ballet or listened to classical music (EU avg. 18%). While 39% went to the library at least once (EU avg. 31%).

Latvians attended fewer films (43%) than their EU counterparts (52%) on the average. 

However the figures have decreased from 2006, the last time such data were measured. This is to be explained with the changing demographics, said sociologist Anda Laķe.

"We can point out about three main reasons why it is so, and these reasons are mostly related not only to matters of the culture offering but first of all with the changes in the socio-demographic structure," said Laķe.

By this she means the shrinking and aging population; however the decrease can also be explained by pressure on culture institutions to increase prices.

On average, Latvians immersed themselves in eight cultural activities within the past year. The statistic includes watching cultural shows on TV and reading culture magazines.

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