Population down by nearly 5,000

During the first nine months of 2016, the number of deaths exceeded the number of births as usual, as a result of which the Latvian population decreased by 4,636 people.

In the corresponding period of 2015 the population decline amounted to 4,751 persons, so the rate of decline is similar, the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) reported.

Provisional data compiled by the CSB show that during the first nine months of 2016, 16,630 newborns were registered – 19 babies more than in the corresponding period of 2015.

Since 2011 the number of newborns has been increasing in Latvia.

At the other end of this mortal coil 21,266 deaths were registered, which is 96 people less than in the same period a year ago.

The number of births still does not exceed the number of deaths, and indeed has not done so since 1991.

After a stable rise in the number of marriages over the last five years, a slight reduction may be observed. In the nine months of this year, 11,095 marriages were registered, and, compared to the corresponding period a year ago, the number has dropped by 87.

The falling population is one of the most pressing matters facing the government, with labor shortages and pension shortfalls predicted unless the decline can be reversed.

With that in mind, efforts are being stepped up to try to persuade the more than 10% of the population believed to have left Latvia to work abroad, to return to their homeland.

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