13% of Latvia's residents are not citizens

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On 1 January 2021, there were 23.7 million citizens of non-member countries living in one of the EU Member States, representing 5.3% of the EU population, according to Eurostat data published March 30.

In addition, there were 13.7 million people living in one of the EU Member States with the citizenship of another EU Member State.

In absolute terms, the largest numbers of non-nationals living in the EU Member States were found in Germany (10.6 million people), Spain (5.4 million), France and Italy (both 5.2 million). Non-nationals in these four Member States collectively represented 70.3% of the total number of non-nationals living in all EU Member States. 

In relative terms, the EU Member State with the highest share of non-national citizens was Luxembourg (47% of its total population).

A high proportion of non-nationals (10% or more of the resident population) was also observed in Malta, Cyprus, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Ireland, Germany, Belgium and Spain.

In Latvia's case the presence of a still-significant number of "non-citizens" remains evident. Non-citizens are generally Soviet-era immigrants and their descendants who were not entitled to automatic Latvian citizenship and who have chosen not to undergo a process of naturalization in order to obtain Latvian citizenship. 

Non-nationals in Latvia, 2020
Non-nationals in Latvia, 2020

In contrast with most other EU member states where citizens of other EU countries make up a large proportion of non-nationals, in Latvia this is not the case.

In fact, Latvia's naturalization rate is among the lowest in Europe if the naturalization rate is defined as the ratio between the total number of citizenships granted and the stock of non-national residents at the beginning of the same year.

The EU Member State with the highest naturalisation rate in 2020 was Sweden (8.6 per hundred), followed by Portugal (5.4), the Netherlands (4.8) and Finland (2.9). At the opposite end of the scale, naturalisation rates below 1 citizenship acquisition per 100 resident non-nationals were recorded in Ireland (0.9), Bulgaria (0.8), Slovakia (0.7), Austria (0.6), Czechia (0.5), Estonia and Latvia (0.4 each), as well as Lithuania (0.2).

Naturalization rates in EU, 2020
Naturalization rates in EU, 2020

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