Latvia's death rate was twice its birth rate in 2021

Take note – story published 2 years ago

Latvia's urgent demographic challenges were brought into sharp focus February 18 with the publication of annual population data from the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB).

Provisional data show that in 2021, 34,142 deaths were registered in Latvia, which was the highest number of deaths recorded in the last 20 years and twice the number of births (17,115). Last year's fertility rate was one of the lowest in the last 100 years.

Natural growth in Latvia remains negative with a difference of 17,027 between deaths and births. This is the largest difference between births and deaths in the last 20 years. 

As a result of the data, on 1 January 2021, the estimated population in Latvia was 1,873,000.

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"Between 2005 and 2019, the number of deaths tended to decrease, with only a slight increase in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic started, with a 4 % increase compared to 2019 (1,135 more deaths than the year before). However, in 2021 the situation changed and the number of deaths was the highest in the last 20 years, with an increase of 18 % compared to 2020, or 5,288 deaths. The largest increase in deaths occurred at the end of 2021, in October and November, when the number of deaths was 24 % higher than in the average months of 2021," the CSB said.

With a declining population of reproductive age, fertility has been declining since 2016. A similar trend continued during the two years of the pandemic so far – in 2021, provisional data show that 2.5 % or 437 fewer children were born than in the previous year.

The number of births and deaths by months can be viewed in this interactive graph.

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