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Latvia :: Europe



Several eastern Baltic tribes merged in medieval times to form the ethnic core of the Latvian people (ca. 8th-12th centuries A.D.). The region subsequently came under the control of Germans, Poles, Swedes, and finally, Russians. A Latvian republic emerged following World War I, but it was annexed by the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. Latvia reestablished its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Although the last Russian troops left in 1994, the status of the Russian minority (some 26% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia acceded to both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004; it joined the euro zone in 2014 and the OECD in 2016. A dual citizenship law was adopted in 2013, easing naturalization for non-citizen children.



Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania

Geographic coordinates:

57 00 N, 25 00 E

Map references:



total: 64,589 sq km
land: 62,249 sq km
water: 2,340 sq km
country comparison to the world: 124

Area - comparative:

slightly larger than West Virginia

Land boundaries:

total: 1,370 km
border countries (4): Belarus 161 km, Estonia 333 km, Lithuania 544 km, Russia 332 km


498 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: limits as agreed to by Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Sweden, and Russia
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation


maritime; wet, moderate winters


low plain


mean elevation: 87 m
lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Gaizina Kalns 312 m

Natural resources:

peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, timber, arable land

Land use:

agricultural land: 29.2% (2011 est.)
arable land: 18.6% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.1% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 10.5% (2011 est.)
forest: 54.1% (2011 est.)
other: 16.7% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land:

12 sq km (2012)
note: land in Latvia is often too wet and in need of drainage not irrigation; approximately 16,000 sq km or 85% of agricultural land has been improved by drainage

Population distribution:

largest concentration of people is found in and around the port and capital city of Riga; small agglomerations are scattered throughout the country

Natural hazards:

large percentage of agricultural fields can become waterlogged and require drainage

Environment - current issues:

while land, water, and air pollution are evident, Latvia's environment has benefited from a shift to service industries after the country regained independence; improvements have occurred in drinking water quality, sewage treatment, household and hazardous waste management, as well as reduction of air pollution; concerns include nature protection and the management of water resources and the protection of the Baltic Sea

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

most of the country is composed of fertile low-lying plains with some hills in the east

People and Society


1,881,232 (July 2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153


noun: Latvian(s)
adjective: Latvian

Ethnic groups:

Latvian 62.2%, Russian 25.2%, Belarusian 3.2%, Ukrainian 2.2%, Polish 2.1%, Lithuanian 1.2%, other 1.5%, unspecified 2.3% (2018 est.)


Latvian (official) 56.3%, Russian 33.8%, other 0.6% (includes Polish, Ukrainian, and Belarusian), unspecified 9.4% (2011 est.)
note: data represent language usually spoken at home


Lutheran 36.2%, Roman Catholic 19.5%, Orthodox 19.1%, other Christian 1.6%, other 0.1%, unspecified/none 23.5% (2017 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 15.32% (male 148,120/female 140,028)
15-24 years: 9% (male 87,372/female 81,965)
25-54 years: 40.41% (male 380,817/female 379,359)
55-64 years: 14.77% (male 125,401/female 152,548)
65 years and over: 20.5% (male 128,151/female 257,471) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios:

total dependency ratio: 59
youth dependency ratio: 26.1
elderly dependency ratio: 32.9
potential support ratio: 3 (2020 est.)

Median age:

total: 44.4 years
male: 40.5 years
female: 48 years (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16

Population growth rate:

-1.12% (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 230

Birth rate:

9.2 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 203

Death rate:

14.6 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4

Net migration rate:

-5.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 201

Population distribution:

largest concentration of people is found in and around the port and capital city of Riga; small agglomerations are scattered throughout the country


urban population: 68.3% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: -0.93% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population:

631,000 RIGA (capital) (2020)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.82 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.5 male(s)/female
total population: 0.86 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth:

27.6 years (2017 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:

19 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124

Infant mortality rate:

total: 5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 75.4 years
male: 70.9 years
female: 80.1 years (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116

Total fertility rate:

1.53 children born/woman (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197

Drinking water source:

improved: urban: 98.8% of population
rural: 98.2% of population
total: 98.6% of population
unimproved: urban: 1.2% of population
rural: 1.8% of population
total: 1.4% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure:

6% (2017)

Physicians density:

3.19 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density:

5.6 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access:

improved: urban: 98.9% of population
rural: 84.6% of population
total: 94.3% of population
unimproved: urban: 1.1% of population
rural: 15.4% of population
total: 5.7% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.3% (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

5,600 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

<100 (2019 est.)

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: intermediate (2020)
vectorborne diseases: tickborne encephalitis

Obesity - adult prevalence rate:

23.6% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 65

Education expenditures:

4.4% of GDP (2017)
country comparison to the world: 82


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.9%
male: 99.9%
female: 99.9% (2015)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 17 years (2018)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:

total: 12.2%
male: 12.5%
female: 11.8% (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109


Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Latvia
conventional short form: Latvia
local long form: Latvijas Republika
local short form: Latvija
former: Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic
etymology: the name "Latvia" originates from the ancient Latgalians, one of four eastern Baltic tribes that formed the ethnic core of the Latvian people (ca. 8th-12th centuries A.D.)

Government type:

parliamentary republic


name: Riga
geographic coordinates: 56 57 N, 24 06 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
etymology: of the several theories explaining the name's origin, the one relating to the city's role in Baltic and North Sea commerce is the most probable; the name is likely related to the Latvian word "rija," meaning "warehouse," where the 'j' became a 'g' under the heavy German influence in the city from the late Middle Ages to the early 20th century

Administrative divisions:

110 municipalities (novadi, singular - novads) and 9 cities ++ municipalities: Adazi, Aglona, Aizkraukle, Aizpute, Akniste, Aloja, Alsunga, Aluksne, Amata, Ape, Auce, Babite, Baldone, Baltinava, Balvi, Bauska, Beverina, Broceni, Burtnieki, Carnikava, Cesis, Cesvaine, Cibla, Dagda, Daugavpils, Dobele, Dundaga, Durbe, Engure, Ergli, Garkalne, Grobina, Gulbene, Iecava, Ikskile, Ilukste, Incukalns, Jaunjelgava, Jaunpiebalga, Jaunpils, Jekabpils, Jelgava, Kandava, Karsava, Kegums, Kekava, Koceni, Koknese, Kraslava, Krimulda, Krustpils, Kuldiga, Lielvarde, Ligatne, Limbazi, Livani, Lubanas, Ludza, Madona, Malpils, Marupe, Mazsalaca, Mersrags, Naukseni, Nereta, Nica, Ogre, Olaine, Ozolnieki, Pargauja, Pavilosta, Plavinas, Preili, Priekule, Priekuli, Rauna, Rezekne, Riebini, Roja, Ropazi, Rucava, Rugaji, Rujiena, Rundale, Salacgriva, Sala, Salaspils, Saldus, Saulkrasti, Seja, Sigulda, Skriveri, Skrunda, Smiltene, Stopini, Strenci, Talsi, Tervete, Tukums, Vainode, Valka, Varaklani, Varkava, Vecpiebalga, Vecumnieki, Ventspils, Viesites, Vilaka, Vilani, Zilupe ++ cities: Daugavpils, Jekabpils, Jelgava, Jurmala, Liepaja, Rezekne, Riga, Valmiera, Ventspils


18 November 1918 (from Soviet Russia); 4 May 1990 (declared from the Soviet Union); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union)

National holiday:

Independence Day (Republic of Latvia Proclamation Day), 18 November (1918); note - 18 November 1918 was the date Latvia established its statehood and its concomitant independence from Soviet Russia; 4 May 1990 was the date it declared the restoration of Latvian statehood and its concomitant independence from the Soviet Union


history: several previous (pre-1991 independence); note - following the restoration of independence in 1991, parts of the 1922 constitution were reintroduced 4 May 1990 and fully reintroduced 6 July 1993
amendments: proposed by two thirds of Parliament members or by petition of one tenth of qualified voters submitted through the president; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of Parliament in each of three readings; amendment of constitutional articles, including national sovereignty, language, the parliamentary electoral system, and constitutional amendment procedures, requires passage in a referendum by majority vote of at least one half of the electorate; amended several times, last in 2019

Legal system:

civil law system with traces of socialist legal traditions and practices

International law organization participation:

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Latvia
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Egils LEVITS (since 8 July 2019)
head of government: Prime Minister Krisjanis KARINS (since 23 January 2019)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers nominated by the prime minister, appointed by Parliament
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by Parliament for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 29 May 2019 (next to be held in 2023); prime minister appointed by the president, confirmed by Parliament
election results: Egils LEVITS elected president; Parliament vote - Egils LEVITS 61 votes, Didzis SMITS 24, Juris JANSONS 8; Krisjanis KARINS confirmed prime minister 61-39

Legislative branch:

description: unicameral Parliament or Saeima (100 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by party list proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 6 October 2018 (next to be held in October 2022)
election results: percent of vote by party - SDPS 19.8%, KPV LV 14.3%, JKP 13.6%, AP! 12%, NA 11%, ZZS 9.9%, V 6.7%, other 12.7%; seats by party - SDPS 23, KPV LV 16, JKP 16, AP! 13, NA 13, ZZS 11, V 8; composition - men 69, women 31, percent of women 31%

Judicial branch:

highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the Senate with 36 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 7 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by chief justice and confirmed by the Saeima; judges serve until age 70, but term can be extended 2 years; Constitutional Court judges - 3 nominated by Saeima members, 2 by Cabinet ministers, and 2 by plenum of Supreme Court; all judges confirmed by Saeima majority vote; Constitutional Court president and vice president serve in their positions for 3 years; all judges serve 10-year terms; mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: district (city) and regional courts

Political parties and leaders:

Development/For! or AP! [Daniels PAVLUTS, Juris PUCE] ++ National Alliance "All For Latvia!"-"For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK" or NA [Raivis DZINTARS] New Conservative Party or JKP [Janis BORDANS] ++ Social Democratic Party "Harmony" or SDPS [Nils USAKOVS] Union of Greens and Farmers or ZZS [Armands KRAUZE] Unity or V [Arvils ASERADENS] ++ Who Owns the State? or KPV LV [Artuss KAIMINS]

International organization participation:

Australia Group, BA, BIS, CBSS, CD, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA (cooperating state), EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Andris TEIKMANIS (since 16 September 2016)
chancery: 2306 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 328-2840
FAX: [1] (202) 328-2860

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador John Leslie CARWILE (since 5 November 2019)
telephone: [371] 6710-7000
embassy: 1 Samnera Velsa St, Riga LV-1510
mailing address: Embassy of the United States of America, 1 Samnera Velsa St, Riga, LV-1510
FAX: [371] 6710-7050

Flag description:

three horizontal bands of maroon (top), white (half-width), and maroon; the flag is one of the older banners in the world; a medieval chronicle mentions a red standard with a white stripe being used by Latvian tribes in about 1280

National symbol(s):

white wagtail (bird); national colors: maroon, white

National anthem:

name: "Dievs, sveti Latviju!" (God Bless Latvia)
lyrics/music: Karlis BAUMANIS
note: adopted 1920, restored 1990; first performed in 1873 while Latvia was a part of Russia; banned during the Soviet occupation from 1940 to 1990


Economic overview:

Latvia is a small, open economy with exports contributing more than half of GDP. Due to its geographical location, transit services are highly-developed, along with timber and wood-processing, agriculture and food products, and manufacturing of machinery and electronics industries. Corruption continues to be an impediment to attracting foreign direct investment and Latvia's low birth rate and decreasing population are major challenges to its long-term economic vitality. ++ Latvia's economy experienced GDP growth of more than 10% per year during 2006-07, but entered a severe recession in 2008 as a result of an unsustainable current account deficit and large debt exposure amid the slowing world economy. Triggered by the collapse of the second largest bank, GDP plunged by more than 14% in 2009 and, despite strong growth since 2011, the economy took until 2017 return to pre-crisis levels in real terms. Strong investment and consumption, the latter stoked by rising wages, helped the economy grow by more than 4% in 2017, while inflation rose to 3%. Continued gains in competitiveness and investment will be key to maintaining economic growth, especially in light of unfavorable demographic trends, including the emigration of skilled workers, and one of the highest levels of income inequality in the EU. ++ In the wake of the 2008-09 crisis, the IMF, EU, and other international donors provided substantial financial assistance to Latvia as part of an agreement to defend the currency's peg to the euro in exchange for the government's commitment to stringent austerity measures. The IMF/EU program successfully concluded in December 2011, although, the austerity measures imposed large social costs. The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized, although the state still holds sizable stakes in a few large enterprises, including 80% ownership of the Latvian national airline. Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization in February 1999 and the EU in May 2004. Latvia also joined the euro zone in 2014 and the OECD in 2016.

GDP real growth rate:

2.08% (2019 est.)
4.2% (2018 est.)
3.23% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

2.8% (2019 est.)
2.5% (2018 est.)
2.9% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143

Credit ratings:

Fitch rating: A- (2014)
Moody's rating: A3 (2015)
Standard & Poors rating: A+ (2020)

GDP (purchasing power parity) - real:

$56.651 billion (2019 est.)
$55.507 billion (2018 est.)
$53.268 billion (2017 est.)
note: data are in 2010 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$34.084 billion (2019 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$16,778 (2019 est.)
$16,254 (2018 est.)
$15,417 (2017 est.)
note: data are in 2010 dollars
country comparison to the world: 86

Gross national saving:

20.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
21% of GDP (2016 est.)
21.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:

agriculture: 3.9% (2017 est.)
industry: 22.4% (2017 est.)
services: 73.7% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use:

household consumption: 61.8% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 18.2% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 19.9% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 1.5% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 60.6% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -61.9% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores:

94.1 (2020)

Agriculture - products:

grain, rapeseed, potatoes, vegetables; pork, poultry, milk, eggs; fish


processed foods, processed wood products, textiles, processed metals, pharmaceuticals, railroad cars, synthetic fibers, electronics

Industrial production growth rate:

10.6% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12

Labor force:

885,000 (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 7.7%
industry: 24.1%
services: 68.1% (2016 est.)

Unemployment rate:

6.14% (2019 est.)
6.51% (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100

Population below poverty line:

25.5% (2015)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.2%
highest 10%: 26.3% (2015)


revenues: 11.39 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 11.53 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:

37.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 54

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

-0.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62

Public debt:

36.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
37.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities, including sub-sectors of central government, state government, local government, and social security funds
country comparison to the world: 147

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Current account balance:

-$222 million (2019 est.)
-$99 million (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102


$20.444 billion (2019 est.)
$20.007 billion (2018 est.)
$19.153 billion (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79

Exports - partners:

Lithuania 15.8%, Russia 14%, Estonia 10.9%, Germany 6.9%, Sweden 5.7%, UK 4.9%, Poland 4.3%, Denmark 4.1% (2017)

Exports - commodities:

foodstuffs, wood and wood products, metals, machinery and equipment, textiles


$22.049 billion (2019 est.)
$21.397 billion (2018 est.)
$20.096 billion (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78

Imports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, fuels, vehicles

Imports - partners:

Lithuania 17.6%, Germany 11.7%, Poland 8.7%, Estonia 7.6%, Russia 7.1%, Netherlands 4.2%, Finland 4.2%, Italy 4% (2017)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$4.614 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.514 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97

Debt - external:

$40.02 billion (31 March 2016 est.)
$38.19 billion (31 March 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74

Exchange rates:

euros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.82771 (2020 est.)
0.90338 (2019 est.)
0.87789 (2018 est.)
0.885 (2014 est.)
0.7634 (2013 est.)


Electricity access:

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Electricity - production:

6.241 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115

Electricity - consumption:

6.798 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109

Electricity - exports:

3.795 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38

Electricity - imports:

4.828 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39

Electricity - installed generating capacity:

2.932 million kW (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98

Electricity - from fossil fuels:

39% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:

53% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33

Electricity - from other renewable sources:

8% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87

Crude oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160

Crude oil - exports:

0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152

Crude oil - imports:

0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150

Crude oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155

Refined petroleum products - production:

0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163

Refined petroleum products - consumption:

44,600 bbl/day (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111

Refined petroleum products - exports:

16,180 bbl/day (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72

Refined petroleum products - imports:

54,370 bbl/day (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155

Natural gas - consumption:

1.218 billion cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136

Natural gas - imports:

1.246 billion cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:

8.632 million Mt (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114


Telephones - fixed lines:

total subscriptions: 227,149
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 11.94 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120

Telephones - mobile cellular:

total subscriptions: 2,067,174
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 108.66 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151

Telecommunication systems:

general assessment: recent efforts focused on bringing competition to the telecommunications sector; the number of fixed-line is decreasing as mobile-cellular telephone service expands; EU regulatory policies, and framework provide guidelines for growth; govt. adopted measures to build a national fiber broadband network, part-funded by European Commission; new competition in mobile markets with extensive LTE-A technologies and 5G service growth (2020)
domestic: fixed-line 12 per 100 and mobile-cellular 109 per 100 subscriptions (2019)
international: country code - 371; the Latvian network is now connected via fiber-optic cable to Estonia, Finland, and Sweden
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media:

several national and regional commercial TV stations are foreign-owned, 2 national TV stations are publicly owned; system supplemented by privately owned regional and local TV stations; cable and satellite multi-channel TV services with domestic and foreign broadcasts available; publicly owned broadcaster operates 4 radio networks with dozens of stations throughout the country; dozens of private broadcasters also operate radio stations

Internet country code:


Internet users:

total: 1,607,711
percent of population: 83.58% (July 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129

Broadband - fixed subscriptions:

total: 525,995
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 27 (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83


National air transport system:

number of registered air carriers: 3 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 53
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 4,058,762 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 4.01 million mt-km (2018)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:

YL (2016)


42 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 101

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 18 (2017)
over 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2017)
under 914 m: 7 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 24 (2013)
under 914 m: 24 (2013)


1 (2013)


1,213 km gas, 417 km refined products (2018)


total: 1,860 km (2018)
narrow gauge: 34 km 0.750-m gauge (2018)
broad gauge: 1,826 km 1.520-m gauge (2018)
country comparison to the world: 75


total: 70,244 km (2018)
paved: 15,158 km (2018)
unpaved: 55,086 km (2018)
country comparison to the world: 70


300 km (navigable year-round) (2010)
country comparison to the world: 92

Merchant marine:

total: 58
by type: general cargo 11, oil tanker 8, other 39 (2019)
country comparison to the world: 110

Ports and terminals:

major seaport(s): Riga, Ventspils

Military and Security

Military and security forces:

National Armed Forces (Nacionalie Brunotie Speki): Land Forces (Latvijas Sauszemes Speki), Naval Force (Latvijas Juras Speki, includes Coast Guard (Latvijas Kara Flote)), Air Force (Latvijas Gaisa Speki), National Guard (2019)

Military expenditures:

2.01% of GDP (2019 est.)
2.08% of GDP (2018)
1.59% of GDP (2017)
1.45% of GDP (2016)
1.04% of GDP (2015)
country comparison to the world: 49

Military and security service personnel strengths:

the National Armed Forces of Latvia have approximately 6,000 active duty troops (5,000 Land Forces, inc. joint service personnel and active duty National Guard; 500 Naval Force/Coast Guard; 500 Air Force) (2019 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions:

the Latvian military's inventory is limited and consists of a European, Israeli, and US weapons systems; since 2010, it has received mostly second-hand equipment from Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, and the US (2019 est.)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; no conscription; under current law, every citizen is entitled to serve in the armed forces for life (2017)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:

Russia demands better Latvian treatment of ethnic Russians in Latvia; boundary demarcated with Latvia and Lithuania; the Latvian parliament has not ratified its 1998 maritime boundary treaty with Lithuania, primarily due to concerns over oil exploration rights; as a member state that forms part of the EU's external border, Latvia has implemented the strict Schengen border rules with Russia

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

stateless persons: 216,851 (2019); note - individuals who were Latvian citizens prior to the 1940 Soviet occupation and their descendants were recognized as Latvian citizens when the country's independence was restored in 1991; citizens of the former Soviet Union residing in Latvia who have neither Latvian nor other citizenship are considered non-citizens (officially there is no statelessness in Latvia) and are entitled to non-citizen passports; children born after Latvian independence to stateless parents are entitled to Latvian citizenship upon their parents' request; non-citizens cannot vote or hold certain government jobs and are exempt from military service but can travel visa-free in the EU under the Schengen accord like Latvian citizens; non-citizens can obtain naturalization if they have been permanent residents of Latvia for at least five years, pass tests in Latvian language and history, and know the words of the Latvian national anthem

Illicit drugs:

transshipment and destination point for cocaine, synthetic drugs, opiates, and cannabis from Southwest Asia, Western Europe, Latin America, and neighboring Baltic countries; despite improved legislation, vulnerable to money laundering due to nascent enforcement capabilities and comparatively weak regulation of offshore companies and the gaming industry; CIS organized crime (including counterfeiting, corruption, extortion, stolen cars, and prostitution) accounts for most laundered proceeds