Latvia's worrying demographic trends continue

Take note – story published 1 year and 7 months ago

Provisional data published by the Central Statistical Bureau on November 11 show that, though Latvia's death rate has reduced from 2021's Covid-affected level, the population of the country continues to decline at a significant rate.

During the first nine months of this year, 22 498 deaths were registered, which is 1 916 deaths or 7.8 % fewer than in the nine months of the previous year. However, that is about the only good news in figures that will likely prompt renewed calls for action to counteract worrying demographic trends.  

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The birth rate is still dwindling. Over the first nine months, 12 221 births were registered, which is 8.2 % fewer than the number registered in the corresponding period of 2021. Moreover, starting from February the smallest monthly birth number in a century has been registered for eight consecutive months. January was the only exception as five births more were registered than in January 2021 when the smallest birth number in the century was recorded. A vivid illustration of the statistics is given by the data visualisation Number of births and deaths in Latvia, 1920–2022.

Irrespective of the drop recorded this year compared to last year, mortality remains high and is at almost double the birth number.

In the first nine months of 2022, due to this negative natural population change, the population of Latvia declined by more than 10 thousand people, the CSB said.

The real decline is partly obscured by the large number of refugees arriving from Ukraine this year. On 1 October 2022 the provisional number of inhabitants in Latvia stood at 1,895,400, which is actually 19,600 more than on 1 January 2022.

"Population increase may be observed due to registered immigration, as Ukrainian refugees are counted as residents of Latvia. This is a common practice in all EU countries accepting refugees from Ukraine. On 1 October 2022, 36.6 thousand citizens of Ukraine who left their country due to the war had registered their residence in Latvia," the CSB explained.

Wedding bells have been heard a little more frequently this year than last. In the nine months of 2022, 10 080 marriages were registered, which is 626 marriages or 6.6 % more than in the corresponding period a year ago, however the number still has not reached the pre-pandemic level – in the nine months of 2019 more than 10.5 thousand marriages were concluded.


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