The “official name” is Republic of Latvia, locals call it Latvijas Republika.
Latvia is situated in the Eastern Europe. It borders with Baltic Sea in the East (498 km), Lithuania (576 km) and Belarus (171 km) in the South, Russia (292 km) in the West and Estonia (343 km) in the North. It occupies most of the historical Livonia, which was inhabited by Baltic tribes and conquered by German colonists.
Size: Territory & Population
Latvia has a territory 64,589 sq km, out of these land takes 62,249 sq km and water is 2,340 sq km. Most of Latvia’s territory consists of hilly plains with elevations of 200-300 m above sea level. The relief of the country is mostly occupied by lowlands, swamps and lakes. 472 km of the territory takes coastline.
However, this is not an advantage for agriculture, as the land is usually to wet and in need of drainage. Approximately 85% of agricultural land was improved by drainage.
The highest point is Mountain Gaiziņa Kalns (312 m above the sea level). Latvia ranks the 124 place in the world area list right after Lithuania. For better understanding the area of Latvia is slightly larger than West Virginia.
The population of Latvia is 2,165,165 people (2014). It takes 144 place out of 240 countries in the world, right after Namibia. That is very not really high indicator.
The age structure is next: children (0-14 years) – 14,2%, young people (15-24 years) – 11%, 25-54 years – 44,8%, 55-64 years – 12,8%; 65 years and older – 17,1%. According to this statistics we can see that this country have a lot of people who can work, pay taxes, develop the economy and country itself.
The median age is 44 years. That means that half of the population is younger than 44 years and half are older. This proves that the population of Latvia is equally divided and there are a lot of children and old people that means that people are not starving and dying young. For example in Uganda median age is 15 years. There are a lot of children, but they do not live long.
The growth rate is -0.62%. That means that population of the country is decreasing. Latvia is on 235 place out of 233. That is quite bad. That means that a lot of people immigrate to another country because they are not satisfied with living in Latvia.
Birth rate is 9.79 births per 1.000 population and death rate is 13.6 death per 1,000 population. Latvia takes 14 place in the country list out of 225. Latvia is among African countries that are extremely poor. As we can see above more people die than get born. To decrease this negative statistics the government should try to improve the level of medicine and implement some support programs for young parents.
Total fertility rate is 1.35 children per woman. In order to increase the population in the country this rate should be higher than 2. That is because woman should give birth to a person that will live instead of her, her husband and increase the population itself.
About 8.8% of population is occupied in agriculture, 24% in industry and 67.2% in services.
Level of urbanization is 67.7%. That shows that this country has a huge agricultural potential. Level of migration is -2.37 migrants per 1.000 population. That means that more people leave the country that come to live there.
Main ethnic groups (percent)
The population of Latvia mainly consists of residents from post soviet countries. This is statistics for 2011 year. So 62.1% are Latvian, 26.9% are Russian, 3.3% - Belarusian, 2.2% - Ukrainian, 2.2% - Polish, Lithuanian – 1.3%, other – 3.4%. Among other there are Jewish, German, Estonian
The Republic of Latvia is a parliamentary democracy. The head of the country is president Andris Berzins. Head of the government is prime minister. The president is elected by the Parliament for a four year term, he is eligible for the second term. Prime minister is appointed by the president and confirmed by the parliament.
Major political parties
According to the law of Republic of Latvia, political parties are organizations with more than 200 citizens of Republic of Latvia. Members of these political parties participate in election campaigns, nominate candidates manage the activity of deputies in the Seimas and municipalities.
Main parties are: Union of Greens and Farmers or ZZS - coalition of political parties in Latvia, founded in 2002. It consists of Latvian Green Party and the Latvian Farmers' Union. Head is Raimonds Vejonis.
Harmony Center or SC - association of political parties in Latvia, is supported mainly by the Russian-speaking population. Leader is Nils Usakovs.
National Alliance "All For Latvia!"-"For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK" or NA - Latvian radical nationalist political party. Leaders of the party are Gaidis Berzins and Raivis Dzintars.
Unity - Leader of this party is Solvita Aboltina.
Reform Party or RP the head of the party is Edmunds Demiters.
Latvia is a participant of the following international organizations: BA, OSCE, BIS, IMSO, CBSS, PCA, CE, MIGA, Schengen Convention, EIB, EU, FAO, UNCTAD, IBRD, IOM, ICC (NGOs), WCO, ICRM, IDA, IFC, UNESCO, UPU, IFRCS, IHO, UNWTO, ILO, IMF, IMO, WIPO, NSG, CD, Interpol, IOC, IPU, EBRD, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), NATO, WMO, IAEA, NIB, OAS (observer), Australia Group, OIF (observer), OPCW, ICAO, UN, WHO, EAPC, WTO.
In May 2013, Latvia was selected to receive invitation for membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Dominant economic activities
Latvia is a small country with economy where exports contribute nearly a third of GDP. The amount of export is $12.67 billion (2013). These are mainly food products, wood and wood products, metal, machinery and equipment, textiles. In comparison with 2012 year ($12.23 billion) it increased for $45 million. Main export partners are Russia, Lithuania, Estonia, Germany, Poland and Sweden. Enhancement of this indicator shows the positive trend in economy.
The amount of import is $15.56 billion (2013) in comparison with $15.15 billion (2012). That is quite negative because country produces less by itself and economy is not developing. Latvia imports machinery and equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, fuels, vehicles.
If we compare the amount of import and export, we can see that import exceeds export. In ideal situation that should be vise versa. Country should sell more than purchase from other countries. However the difference is not that huge. And that would be easy to change.