Demographic decline deepens

Even after a decade of large-scale emigration, Latvia's population continues to decline at one of the fastest rates in the European Union according to data released by the EU's statistics department, Eurostat, on Thursday.

With 14.3 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants, only Bulgarians (14.4) died with greater frequency than Latvians in 2013, Eurostat said.

But when emigration is taken into account as well as natural birth and death rates, Latvia is revealed to have the biggest demographic challenge of all.

While Latvia's natural population change is slightly better than Bulgaria's (-4 per 1,000 inhabitants against -5.2 per 1,000 for Bulgaria), far more Latvians are leaving their homeland: 7.1 per 1,000 inhabitants against a figure of just 0.2 for Bulgaria.

Only crisis-hit Cyprus fares worse on emigration (-13.9), while Cypriot births comfortably outweigh deaths.

The data mean at the start of 2014 the Latvian population was estimated at only 2,001,500 with the prospect that it may already have dipped below the 2 million mark.

 

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