Latvian population down by 17 thousand in one year

Data published June 1 by the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia (CSB) show that at the beginning of 2022 population of Latvia accounted for 1 million 876 thousand people, which is 17.5 thousand people fewer than a year ago.

Last year population declined more sharply than a year before – by 0.92 % and 0.76 %, respectively, of which a drop of 0.91 % was due to natural decrease and 0.01 % due to migration. Along with the increase in the number of Ukraine citizens who have applied for temporary protection in Latvia, the positive migration dynamics may be expected also in the future.

The natural decrease registered over the past five years exceeded the negative difference in migration flows significantly. Moreover, the trend was growing last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic when the death rate went up, especially in January and in the autumn months.

Twice as many deaths as births in Latvia last year

Last year 17.4 thousand children were born in Latvia – 132 children or 0.8 % fewer than in 2020 (the lowest indicator recorded over the past hundred years), and 34.6 thousand people died – 5 746 people or 19.9 % more. Such high mortality during the whole centenary (except for the war period) was observed only in the 90s of the 20th century.

Last year, mortality exceeded birth twice – 17.2 thousand people more died than were born (a difference of 11.3 thousand in 2020), moreover it is the most significant natural decrease since 1995. On the other hand, due to long-term international migration population declined by only 286 people, which is the lowest indicator recorded since Latvia regained its independence.

The mean age of Latvia's population is 42.9 years, with the trend of population aging observed.

In 2021 a population decline was recorded among all largest ethnicities living in Latvia: the number of Belarusians fell by 2.2 %, Poles by 2.5 %, Russians by 2.0 %, and Ukrainians by 0.9 %. The number of Latvians dropped by 0.5 %, however, their share in the total population grew by 0.3 percentage points, constituting 63.0 % at the beginning of 2022.

Along with the removal of coronavirus restrictions, immigration has risen sharply, even above the pre-pandemic rates. Emigration figures also rose but not as sharply.

Neighbouring populations remain stable

Over the past seven years the population of Estonia has increased slightly, whereas the population of Lithuania has declined a little. At the beginning of 2022 population of Estonia accounted for 1 332 million and Lithuania for 2 795 million (provisional estimate).

The full report is available on the CSB website.

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