Latvia Country Overview
Where is Latvia located? The northern European state of Latvia is located in the middle of the Baltic States. On the time zone map, Latvia is located in a world time zone that has a standard difference of 2 hours from coordinated universal time (UTC). This means that clocks there are 2 hours later than universal time (UTC+2). The time zone is called “Eastern European Time”. During the summer (from the end of March to the end of October) Latvia switches to daylight saving time.
Bordering Countries of Latvia
According to abbreviationfinder, Latvia is a small country in Northern Europe, bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Belarus and Russia to the east, and the Baltic Sea to the west. Latvia has a total land boundary of 1,863 km which includes 576 km with Estonia, 502 km with Lithuania, 321 km with Belarus and 564 km with Russia.
Latvia borders Estonia to its north; this border is formed by a line drawn between Latvia’s Valka district and Estonia’s Valga district. The two countries have had close ties since 1991 when they declared independence from the Soviet Union and have since worked towards strengthening their relationship through joint initiatives such as transport infrastructure within their shared boundaries.
To Latvia’s south lies Lithuania; this border is formed by a line drawn between Latvia’s Zemgale region and Lithuania’s Alytus County. The two countries have had close ties since 1991 when they declared independence from the Soviet Union and have since worked towards improving their relationship through joint projects such as trade within their shared boundaries.
To Latvia’s east lies Belarus; this border is formed by a line drawn between Latvia’s Latgale region and Belarus’s Vitebsk Region. The two countries have had close ties since 1992 when they established diplomatic relations and have since worked towards improving their relationship through joint initiatives such as economic development within their shared boundaries.
Finally, Latvia shares its western border with Russia; this border is formed by a line drawn between Latvia’s Riga region and Russia’s Pskov Oblast region. Both countries are working together for years now on issues such as energy links within their shared borders of Riga region.
As of 2023, the latest population of Latvia is 1,881,232, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).
|Population growth rate||-1.12%|
|Birth rate||9.70 births per 1,000 people|
|65 years and above||19.85%|
|Median age||42.90 years|
|Gender ratio (Male to Female)||0.86|
|Population density||29.13 residents per km²|
|62.1% Latvians, 26.9% Russians, 3.3% Belarusians, 2.2% Ukrainians, 2.2% Poles, 1.2% Lithuanians and others – proportion of foreigners in 2015: 15.0% (especially Russians)|
|Lutherans, Catholics (Roman Catholic), Russian Orthodox|
|Human Development Index (HDI)||0.854|
|HDI ranking||39th out of 194|
People in Latvia
1.93 million people live in Latvia. Most of the residents are Latvians (62 percent). The proportion of Russians living here is also very high at 26 percent. They came to the country mainly between 1940 and 1990, when Latvia was part of the Soviet Union. However, some Russians have lived in Latvia for generations.
Belarusians are also represented with 3.3 percent, Ukrainians and Poles with 2.2 percent each, but in smaller numbers. The Livs are almost extinct. Only about 230 of them live in Courland, especially in Kolka, the northern tip.
What are non-citizens in Latvia?
When Latvia gained independence in 1990, citizenship was granted to those born on Latvian soil before 1940 and their descendants. All who had immigrated after 1940 were suddenly “non-citizens” and thus stateless. You have to accept restrictions to this day. For example, they cannot become civil servants and they cannot vote.
Since 1995 there has been the possibility of being naturalized. To do this, you have to pass a test that also checks whether someone speaks Latvian. To date there are around 250,000 non-citizens living in Latvia.
How many live where?
The number of the population has been falling since 1989. Each woman has only 1.5 children on average. In addition, many Latvians emigrate to find work in other countries.
68 percent of the population live in one of the cities. With a number of around 700,000, a third of all residents live in Riga. The second largest city is Daugavpils with almost 100,000 people.
Languages in Latvia
Latvia’s official language is Latvian. But it is only spoken by about 58 percent of the population. The Russians living in the country, but also Belarusians and Ukrainians, speak Russian. While Latvian was suppressed during the Soviet era, today Russian is disadvantaged. In parts of the country, for example in Riga, both languages are heard equally often, in others Latvian predominates. There are also Russian-speaking schools, but even there, at least 60 percent of the classes in grades 10 to 12 must be in Latvian.
Latvian is one of the East Baltic languages. It is therefore related to Lithuanian. It is written with Latin letters, which we also use to write German. However, some letters and characters are added. For example, there are the letters Ģ, Ķ, Ļ, Ņ, Ŗ, Č, Š and Ž.
By the way, foreign names are written in Latvian. So William Shakespeare then becomes Viljams Šekspīrs. In Latvian there are no articles like der, die, das. Instead, the endings of the words are changed.
Religions in Latvia
Most of the residents of Latvia are Christians. Here the Protestants form the majority with 36 percent of all residents. The Catholic Church consists of almost 20 percent, the Russian Orthodox 19 percent.