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Latvia Facts

Latvia Facts | Republic of Latvia Information | Latvia Statistics | Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic

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 LATVIAN POLITICAL
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Background: After a brief period of independence between the two World Wars, Latvia was annexed by the USSR in 1940. It 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 30% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.
 
 
Common Name: Latvia Local Official Name: Latvija
Abbreviated Name: Republic of Latvia Official Name: Latvijas Republika
Official Script Name: Latvia Local Common Name: Latvia
Former Name: Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic Territory of: NA
 
Head of State: President Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA
 
Government Type: parliamentary democracy
 
Independence: 1991 August 21 (from Soviet Union)
 
Constitution: 1922 February 15; an October 1998 amendment on Fundamental Human Rights replaced the 1991 Constitutional Law, which had supplemented the constitution
 
National Holiday: Independence Day, 18 November
 
International Organization Participation: Australia Group, BA, BIS, CBSS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EU (new member), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, MIGA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate partner), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
 
Administrative Divisions: 26 counties (singular - rajons) and 7 municipalities*: Aizkraukles Rajons, Aluksnes Rajons, Balvu Rajons, Bauskas Rajons, Cesu Rajons, Daugavpils*, Daugavpils Rajons, Dobeles Rajons, Gulbenes Rajons, Jekabpils Rajons, Jelgava*, Jelgavas Rajons, Jurmala*, Kraslavas Rajons, Kuldigas Rajons, Liepaja*, Liepajas Rajons, Limbazu Rajons, Ludzas Rajons, Madonas Rajons, Ogres Rajons, Preilu Rajons, Rezekne*, Rezeknes Rajons, Riga*, Rigas Rajons, Saldus Rajons, Talsu Rajons, Tukuma Rajons, Valkas Rajons, Valmieras Rajons, Ventspils*, Ventspils Rajons
 
Dependent Areas: NA
 
Legal System: based on civil law system
 
Suffrage: 18 years
 
Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches: Executive Branch: chief of state: President Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA (since 8 July 1999) head of government: Prime Minister Aigars KALVITIS (since 2 December 2004) cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the Parliament elections: president reelected by Parliament for a four-year term (no term limits); election last held 20 June 2003 (next to be held by June 2007); prime minister appointed by the president election results: Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA reelected president; parliamentary vote - Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA 88 of 94 votes cast Legislative Branch: unicameral Parliament or Saeima (100 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms) elections: last held 7 October 2006 (next to be held October 2010) election results: percent of vote by party - TP 19.5%, ZZS 16.7%, JL 16.4%, SC 14.4%; LPP/LC 8.6%; TB/LNNK 7%; PCTVL 6%; seats by party - TP 23, ZZS 18, JL 18, SC 17, LPP/LC 10, TB/LNNK 8, PCTVL 6 Judicial Branch: Supreme Court (judges' appointments are confirmed by Parliament)
 
Party Leaders: First Party of Latvia or LPP [Juris LUJANS]; For Human Rights in a United Latvia or PCTVL [Tatjana ZDANOKA, Jakovs PLINERS]; For the Fatherland and Freedom/Latvian National Independence Movement or TB/LNNK [Janis STRAUME]; Harmony Center or SC [Sergejs DOLGOPOLOVS]; Latvian Green Party or ZZS [Indulis EMSIS, Viesturs SILENIEKS, Raimonds VEJONIS]; Latvian Farmer's Union or LZS [Augusts BRIGMANIS]; Latvian Social Democratic Workers Party (Social Democrats) or LSDSP [Juris BOJARS]; Latvian Socialist Party or LSP [Alfreds RUBIKS]; Latvia's Way or LC [Ivars GODMANIS]; New Democrats or JD [Maris GULBIS]; New Era Party or JL [Einars REPSE]; People's Harmony Party or TSP [Aivars DATAVS]; People's Party or TP [Atis SLAKTERIS]; Social Democratic Union or SDS [Egils BALDZENS]
 
International Disputes: Russia refuses to sign the 1997 boundary treaty due to Latvian insistence on a unilateral clarificatory declaration referencing Soviet occupation of Latvia and territorial losses; Russia demands better Latvian treatment of ethnic Russians in Latvia; 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 must implement the strict Schengen border rules
 
Illicit Drugs: transshipment point for opiates and cannabis from Central and Southwest Asia to Western Europe and Scandinavia and Latin American cocaine and some synthetics from Western Europe to CIS; 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 
 
 
 LATVIAN GEOGRAPHY
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Location of Latvia: Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania
 
Continent: Europe Land Area Total: 64,589 sq km 
Region: Eastern Europe Land Area Land: 63,589 sq km
Capitol City: Riga Land Area Water: 1,000 sq km
      
Latitude: 057 00 N Border Boundary Land: 1,368 km
Longitude: 025 00 E Border Boundary Coastline: 531 km 
  
Arable Land: 28.19 % Pastures: 0.00 %
Crops: 0.45 % Woodlands and Forests: 0.00
  
Highest Elevation: 312 m Location: Gaizinkalns
Lowest Elevation: 0 m Location: Baltic Sea
  
Largest City in Latvia: Riga Riga Largest City Population: 783,000
  
Threatened Species: 19
 
Environmental Issues: Latvia's environment has benefited from a shift to service industries after the country regained independence; the main environmental priorities are improvement of drinking water quality and sewage system, household, and hazardous waste management, as well as reduction of air pollution; in 2001, Latvia closed the EU accession negotiation chapter on environment committing to full enforcement of EU environmental directives by 2010
 
Environmental Agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
 
Irrigated Land: 200
 
Bordering Countries: Belarus 167 km, Estonia 343 km, Lithuania 576 km, Russia 282 km
 
Natural Resources: peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, wood, arable land
 
Geographical Terrain: low plain
 
Comparative Area of Latvia: slightly larger than West Virginia
 
Latvia's Geography: most of the country is composed of fertile, low-lying plains, with some hills in the east
 

 LATVIAN CLIMATE
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General Climate: maritime; wet, moderate winters
 
Natural Hazards: NA
 
 
 LATVIAN ECONOMY
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Economic Overview: Latvia's transitional economy recovered from the 1998 Russian financial crisis, largely due to the government's budget stringency and a gradual reorientation of exports toward EU countries, lessening Latvia's trade dependency on Russia. The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized, although the state still holds sizable stakes in a few large enterprises. Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization in February 1999. EU membership, a top foreign policy goal, came in May 2004. The current account and internal government deficits remain major concerns, but the government's efforts to increase efficiency in revenue collection may lessen the budget deficit. A growing perception that many of Latvia's banks facilitate illicit activity could damage the country's vibrant financial sector.
 
 
GDP: $31,460,000,000 USD Currency: Latvian lat
GDP per Capita: $13,700 USD Currency Code: LVL
GDP Growth Rate: 10.20 %
  
Currency Exchange Rate History: lati per US dollar - 0.5647 (2005), 0.5402 (2004), 0.5715 (2003), 0.6182 (2002), 0.6279 (2001)
  
  
GDP of Agriculture: 4.00 % GDP of Industry: 26.10 %
GDP of Services: 69.90 %  
   
Inflation Rate: 6.70 % Population in Poverty: 0.00 %
Unemployment Rate: 7.50 % Tourism: 490,000.00 visitors each year
   
Consumption by lowest 10%: 2.90 % Budget Revenue in USD: $5,646,000,000 USD
Consumption by upper 10%: 25.90 % Budget Expenditures in USD: $5,889,000,000 USD
   
Electricity Production: 3,573,000,000 kWh Electricity Exports: 300,000,000 kWh
Electricity Consumption: 5,839,000,000 kWh Electricity Imports: 2,816,000,000 kWh

Electricity Production by Source:
 
Fossil Fuel Electricity Production: 33.02% Nuclear Electricity Production: 0.00%
Hydro Electricity Production: 66.98% Other Electricity Production: 0.00%
   
Oil Production: 0 barrels per day Natural Gas Production: 0 cu m
Oil Consumption: 29,000 barrels per day Natural Gas Consumption: 1,800,000,000 cu m
Oil Exports: 0 barrels per day Natural Gas Exports: 0 cu m
Oil Imports: 0 barrels per day Natural Gas Imports: 1,700,000,000 cu m
Proven Oil Reserves: 0 barrels Proven Natural Gas Reserves: 0 cu m
   
External Debt: $13,960,000,000 USD Received in economic aid: $96,200,000 USD
  Donated in economic aid: $0 USD
   
Agricultural Products: grain, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish
 
Primary Industries: buses, vans, street and railroad cars; synthetic fibers, agricultural machinery, fertilizers, washing machines, radios, electronics, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, textiles; note - dependent on imports for energy and raw materials
 
Industrial Growth Rate: 8.50 %
  
  
Import Amount in USD: $8,559,000,000 USD - machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, vehicles
 
Import Partners: Germany 13.9%, Lithuania 13.6%, Russia 8.6%, Estonia 7.9%, Poland 6.4%, Finland 5.9%, Belarus 5.8%, Sweden 5.1%
 
Export Amount in USD: $5,749,000,000 USD - wood and wood products, machinery and equipment, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
 
Export Partners: Lithuania 11%, Estonia 10.8%, Germany 10.2%, UK 10.2%, Russia 7.9%, Sweden 7.8%, Denmark 5.3%, Poland 5.3%
 
    
GINI Index: 32.00%
 
Labor Force Number of People: 1,110,000
 
Labor Force by Occupations: agriculture 15%, industry 25%, services 60%
 
  
 LATVIAN COMMUNICATIONS
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Radio Broadcast Stations: 65 Number of People with Radios: 1,760,000
Television Broadcast Stations: 44 Number of People with Televisions: 1,220,000
Number of People with Mainline Telephones: 731,000 Number of People with Mobile Phones: 1,872,000
 
Internet Service Providers: 53,251 Internet Users: 1,030,000
 
Internet Country Code: .lv Newspapers: 153
Two Letter Country Code: LG Weights and Measures:
Phone Country Code: 371 Electricity Voltage: 220 Volts
  
Telephone Systems: general assessment: recent efforts focused on bringing competition to the telecommunications sector, beginning in 2003; the number of fixed lines is decreasing as wireless telephony expands domestic: two wireless service providers in addition to Lattelekom, the incumbent monopoly international: country code - 371; the Latvian network is now connected via fiber optic cable to Estonia, Finland, and Sweden
 
  
 LATVIAN TRANSPORTATION
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Highways: 22,843 km Railways: 2,303 km
Gas And Oil Pipelines: 1,921 km Waterways: 300 km
Airports: 24 Heliports: 0
 
Motor Vehicles: 263 per 1,000 people CO2 Emissions: 8,287,000 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  Per capita CO2 emissions: 3.30 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  
Merchant Marines: total: 21 ships (1000 GRT or over) 250,559 GRT/336,136 DWT by type: cargo 7, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 7, roll on/roll off 1 registered in other countries: 105 (Antigua and Barbuda 5, Bahamas 1, Belize 6, Cambodia 2, Cyprus 4, Dominica 1, Gibraltar 2, Liberia 14, Malta 40, Marshall Islands 7, Panama 3, Russia 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 18)
 
Ports and Harbors: Riga, Ventspils
 
  
 LATVIAN PEOPLE
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Population: 2,274,735 people type - nationality Birth Rate: 9.24 births per 1,000 people
Population Density: 36.00 people per sq km Death Rate: 13.66 deaths per 1,000 people
Population Growth: -0.67% per year Fertility Rate per Women: 1.27 babies born per woman
 
Population Male 0-14: 162,562 Population Female 0-14: 155,091
Population Male 15-64: 769,004 Population Female 15-64: 815,042
Population Male 65+: 121,646 Population Female 65+: 251,390
 
Population 0-14: 14.00% Literacy Rate: 99.80%
Population 15-64: 69.60% Literacy rate of Males: 99.80%
Population 65+: 16.40% Literacy rate of Females: 99.80%
 
Population that is Male: 43.00 % Population that is Female: 57.00%
Life expectancy at birth in years: 71.33 years Infant mortality rate - baby deaths per 1000 births: 9.35 Babies die per 1,000 births
Life expectancy at birth for Males: 66.08 years Life expectancy at birth for Females: 76.85 years
 
Rate of AIDS/HIV infection: 0.60% Number of people living with AIDS or HIV: 7,600
Number of people who died of AIDS: 0
   
Disease Risk:
 
Diseases:
 
Net Migration Rate per 1,000 people: -2.26
 
Nationality: LATVIAN
 
Ethnic Groups: Latvian 57.7%, Russian 29.6%, Belarusian 4.1%, Ukrainian 2.7%, Polish 2.5%, Lithuanian 1.4%, other 2% 
 
  
Primary Language: Latvian
 
Other Languages: Latvian (official) 58.2%, Russian 37.5%, Lithuanian and other 4.3%
 
 
Primary Religion: Lutheran
 
Other Religions: Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox
 
  
 LATVIAN MILITARY
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Branches: Ground Forces, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces, Border Guard, National Guard
 
Manpower Fit to Serve: 19 years
 
Manpower Available: 1,037,344 People
 
Manpower Fit to Serve: 784,011 People
 
Amount of Manpower Available each Year: 37,642 People per year
 
Expenditures: $87,000,000 USD per year
 
Expenditures as a Percentage of GDP: 1.20
 
 
Note: Phrasebase uses a variety of sources when compiling the facts and information presented above. This information is continually updated throughout the year.
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