"The Covid-19 pandemic led to an increase in mortality, and the number of deaths in each month this year exceeded the figures for the same months last year," the CSB said.
The number of deaths was highest at the end of last year and the beginning of this year and has been rising rapidly in recent weeks, though the figures do not include the surge in Covid-related deaths seen in October and early November. Although there has been an increase in deaths in almost all age groups, the number of deaths in the 60+ age group is 20 % higher this year than in weeks 1-42 last year.
The number of births is also still declining, with 13,072 births recorded in the first nine months of 2021, 474 or 3.5 % fewer than in the same period of 2020.
Mortality has a significant impact on natural population growth. In the first nine months of 2021, the country's population declined by 11,000 people as the number of deaths exceeded the number of births, which is almost the same decrease as last year as a whole.
On 1 October 2021, the estimated population in Latvia was 1,880,000. Natural population growth has been negative for 30 years.
However it was not all bad news. After a drop in the number of marriages in 2020, this year has seen a marked increase. 9,457 marriages have been registered up to September, an increase of 763 marriages or 8.8 %, compared to the same period last year.
However, the pre-pandemic figure of over 10,000 marriages in nine months has not yet been reached.