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Wednesday 19.09.2018 | Name days: Verners, Muntis

Study: Latvian residents want to reach average EU welfare level

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIn the latest Baltic International Bank’s Latvian Barometer study, Latvian residents were asked to look back at the past decade and voice predictions about the next decade.

The most notable event of the past decade respondents seem the happiest about is Latvian basketball player Kristaps Porziņģis’ addition to the NBA league. The saddest event of the past decade, according to respondents, was the tragedy in Zolitude.

When asked to assess their satisfaction with life on a scale from 1 to 10, two out of three Latvian residents or 63% of respondents said there are optimistic, giving a score of 6 out of 10. The average score given by residents is 6.10. Looking back of previous years, this is an increase (5.94 in 2016).

According to the study, over the last ten years the greatest joy for residents was brought by sports, specifically the accomplishments of Latvian basketball player Kristaps Porziņģis and his addition to NBA league (24%) and Māris Štrombergs’ gold medal won at the Beijing Olympics (23%).

Baltic International Bank chairman Viktors Bolbats: «The study shows Latvian residents’ growing optimism and desire to be proud of their country. I hope the excellent accomplishments of Kristaps Porziņģis and Māris Štrombergs will motivate residents to accomplish their own goals. And then we as a country will be able to think about reaching and exceeding the average EU welfare level».

Bank of Latvia economist Agnese Rutkovska describes the importance of accomplishments in sports: «The love Latvian residents have towards sports take different and passionate forms, which becomes evident from social media posts – with both support and worries for athletes and updates about personal accomplishments in sports. Photos with prizes for winning marathons are as prominent as photos with people dressed in traditional Latvian clothes for Song and Dance Celebration».

Looking back at the most tragic event of the recent past, 76% of residents mentioned 21 November 2013, when the roof of a Maxima supermarket in Zolitude collapsed, killing more than 50 people.

When asked about the most notable accomplishments in industries, Latvian residents most often mentioned ICT services (31%) and trade industry (30%). High accomplishments of those two sectors come as no surprise, because exports of IT services is Latvia’s most rapidly growing industry in the post-crisis period, whereas Latvia’s trade industry currently enjoys growth of e-commerce.

Other often mentioned industries include construction (25%), art, entertainment and leisure (18%). It should be mentioned that industries like education, healthcare, social care and energy were mentioned only in 4% of cases.

Prudentia council member Ģirts Rungainis says: ‘IT sector and other 21st century industries, with which Latvia’s perspectives for reaching and exceeding the average EU income levels, are the main driving force of the economy.’ He adds that ‘growing competition in retail trade and procurement of goods on the internet makes all people in Latvia wealthier. This means residents’ growing income allow them to buy more goods’.

I am proud of my country – this statement will be heard from more than a half of Latvia’s residents (55%) if the country manages to reach the average EU welfare level in the next ten years, according to study’s results. When asked to say what should happen for them to express pride in their country, residents mentioned reaching stable economic index (53%), better social system and improved healthcare system (51%). In addition to accomplishments and improvements in economic affairs, demography and social aspects, every fourth resident pointed towards accomplishments in science, sports and art (24%).

«Residents’ expectations for the reasons that would allow them to feel pride about their country in 10 years, presented one of the most interesting results, because it does somewhat outline society’s agenda,» explains SKDS director Arnis Kaktiņš.

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