Number of young people falling fast

"Where are all the young people?" That might reasonably be the cry in Latvia soon with new figures from the national statistics office showing that the nations youth is disappearing at the alarming rate of nearly 6% per year.

According to data released Wednesday by the Central Statistical Bureau, at the beginning of 2015 there were 277,000 young people aged 13 to 25 in Latvia.

Of those 142,000 were male, 135,000 females - itself an interesting reversal of the overall population trend in which women significantly outnumber men. 

Over the last five years the number of young people shows on average a 5.7% decrease annually.

Also the share of young people in the total number of population keeps declining each year. If in 2005 one fifth (20%) Latvians were aged 13 to 25 years. By 2010 the share of youth dropped to 17%, and in 2015 - to 14%.

172,000 children attended primary schools in the academic year 2014/2015. After graduating from primary school, 61.3% continued studies in secondary school, 33.8% chose to continue their studies in vocational education institutions, and 4.9% discontinued their studies.

One positive statistic is that in 2014 the share of youth who discontinued their studies after secondary school graduation decreased to 28.9% (in 2010 - 36.9%).

However 29,137 first-year students were enrolled in universities and colleges in the academic year 2014/2015. As compared to the previous year the number of enrolled students decreased by 7%.

Over the last decade the number of students has been decreasing. The largest drop in the number of enrolled students was witnessed in the economic crisis year 2009/2010, when the number of first-year students as compared to the previous period declined by 24.2%.

In 2014, 40.4% of young people aged 15 to 24 were economically active. 32.5% were employed, and the majority had a paid job. Of all employed young people aged 15 to 24, 68.3% worked in services sector (69.4% of them in trade), 24.9% - in production sector, and 6.8% - in agriculture.

Compared to the previous years youth unemployment has decreased (in 2014 - 19.6%); however, it is still double the average unemployment level in the country.

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