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Wednesday 28.06.2017 | Name days: Kitija, Viesturs, Viestards

Population decline continues in Latvia; Riga’s population increases

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUAt the beginning of 2017, Latvia population accounted for 1 million 950 thousand, which is 18.8 thousand people fewer than a year ago.  In 2016, population declined by 0.97 % ( 0.87 % in 2015).

Since the beginning of 2010, Latvian population has dropped by 170 thousand or 8 %. Migration has resulted in a decrease of 113 thousand and negative natural increase in a drop of 57 thousand people, according to data of the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

In regional breakdown, population increase was recorded only in Riga (of 1.8 thousand or 0.3 %). The most notable population drop still is registered in Latgale region – of 6.3 thousand or 2.3 %, which is 0.3 percentage points more than in 2015. Population decline in Vidzeme constitutes 2.1 % (4.2 thousand), in Kurzeme 1.9 % (4.8 thousand), in Zemgale 1.6 % (3.9 thousand) and in Pierīga 0.4 % (1.4 thousand).

Population decline was recorded in all cities under state jurisdiction except for Riga. The sharpest reduction was observed in Rēzekne (1.8 % or 518 people), Liepāja (1.7 % or 1187), Daugavpils (1.5 % or 1,266), Ventspils (1.5 % or 541), Jēkabpils (1.5 % or 338), whereas the smallest in Jelgava (0.5 % or 310 people).

Last year, the population increase was recorded only in 9 out of 110 counties, and, except for Aknīste county, they all are counties located in Pierīga region. Population increase (15 people) in Aknīste county was due to the rise in the number of persons in social care institutions. The highest population rise was observed in Carnikava (1476 people), Babīte (294), Ādaži (211), and Garkalne (177) county. Population increase in Carnikava county, just like in Riga in 2015, might be due to the real estate tax changes that encouraged population to declare their place of residence at the housing units in which no one was declared before. Population increase was also recorded in Salaspils (82 people), Stopiņi (56), Ikšķile (36) and Ropaži county (10). Out of the nine counties mentioned, all have positive net migration, whereas positive natural increase was recorded in 6 counties.

In 2015 and 2016, the number of immigrants dropped, while the number of emigrants increased. As a result of international long-term migration, Latvian population fell by 12.2 thousand in 2016 (by 10.6 thousand in 2015). In 2016, 8.4 thousand persons arrived in Latvia from other countries (1.1 thousand fewer than in 2015) and 20.6 thousand people left the country (0.5 thousand more than in 2015).

In 2016, due to the natural increase, Latvian population declined by 6.6 thousand (by 6.5 thousand in 2015). 22.0 thousand people were born and 28.6 thousand persons died in the country. The number of births per 1000 inhabitants has grown slightly over the past five years – from 9.8 in 2012 to 11.2 in 2016. Over the last two years, mortality rate has gone up slightly as well, constituting 14.6 deaths per 1000 inhabitants in 2016 (14.4 in 2015). It should be noted that, infant mortality has decreased last year – 81 children died during their first year of life, i.e., 3.7 infant deaths per 1000 live births (4.1 in 2015).

Affected by a slight birth rate growth, the number of children and youth (aged up to 14) increased by 11.4 thousand (by 3.3 thousand in 2016), accounting for 15.6 % of the total population at the beginning of 2017 (14.3 % at the beginning of 2012).

In 2016, population aged 15–64 kept declining – by 23.5 thousand or 1.8%, which was mainly because of the migration (by 16.8 thousand).

Population aged over 62 keeps increasing as well – in 2016 the indicator grew by 1.3 thousand. Its share in the total population rose from 19.6 % at the beginning of 2016 to 19.9 % at the beginning of 2017.

In 2016, population decline was recorded among all largest Latvian ethnicities: number of Belarussians and Lithuanians dropped by 2.6 %, of Ukrainians and Poles by 2.3 %, of Russians by 1.8 %, and of Latvians by 0.6 %. The share of Latvians in the total population, despite of the decrease in the total population, grew from 61.8 % at the beginning of 2016 to 62.0 % at the beginning of 2017.

For comparison, at the beginning of 2017 Estonia population accounted for 1 million 315 thousand (309 people fewer than a year ago). Estonian natural increase was negative as well – 1,339 people fewer (in 2016 14.1 thousand people were born and 15.4 thousand passed away in Estonia), whereas international net migration was positive – 1,030 people (14.8 thousand arrived from other countries and 13.8 emigrated in 2016).

The provisional Lithuanian population at the beginning of 2017 accounted for 2 million 849 thousand (population decline of 39.2 thousand). Lithuanian natural increase was negative as well (9.6 thousand people fewer (provisional birth number in 2017 constitutes 31.2 thousand and death number 40.8 thousand) as was the net migration (decline of 29.6 thousand).


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