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Map of Latvia

DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Latvia
Background:
Definition Field Listing
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.

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   Geography    Latvia
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
57 00 N, 25 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Europe
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 64,589 sq km
land: 63,589 sq km
water: 1,000 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly larger than West Virginia
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1,150 km
border countries: Belarus 141 km, Estonia 339 km, Lithuania 453 km, Russia 217 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
531 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
maritime; wet, moderate winters
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
low plain
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Gaizinkalns 312 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, wood, arable land
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 29.67%
permanent crops: 0.47%
other: 69.86% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
200 sq km
note: land in Latvia is often too wet, and in need of drainage, not irrigation; approximately 16,000 sq km or 85% of agricultural land has been improved by drainage (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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, and 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
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
most of the country is composed of fertile, low-lying plains, with some hills in the east

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   People    Latvia
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2,306,306 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 15% (male 177,223; female 169,241)
15-64 years: 69.2% (male 772,496; female 823,410)
65 years and over: 15.8% (male 118,035; female 245,901) (2004 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 38.8 years
male: 35.6 years
female: 41.9 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.71% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.87 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
13.73 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-2.23 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.48 male(s)/female
total population: 0.86 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 9.67 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 11.45 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 70.86 years
male: 65.91 years
female: 76.09 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.25 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.4% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 100 (2001 est.)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Latvian(s)
adjective: Latvian
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Latvian 57.7%, Russian 29.6%, Belarusian 4.1%, Ukrainian 2.7%, Polish 2.5%, Lithuanian 1.4%, other 2% (2002)
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
Latvian (official), Lithuanian, Russian, other
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.8% (2003 est.)

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   Government    Latvia
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Republic of Latvia
conventional short form: Latvia
local long form: Latvijas Republika
local short form: Latvija
former: Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
parliamentary democracy
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Riga
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
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
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
21 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 18 November (1918); note - 18 November 1918 is the date Latvia declared itself independent from Soviet Russia; 4 May 1990 is when it declared the renewal of independence; 21 August 1991 is the date of de facto independence from the Soviet Union
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
15 February 1922; an October 1998 ammendment on Fundamental Human Rights replaced the 1991 Constitutional Law, which had supplemented the constitution
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on civil law system
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal for Latvian citizens
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA (since 8 July 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Indulis EMSIS (since 9 March 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; 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:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral Parliament or Saeima (100 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 5 October 2002 (next to be held NA October 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - New Era 23.9%, PCTVL 18.9%, People's Party 16.7%, ZZS 9.5%, First Party 7.6%, LNNK 5.4%; seats by party - New Era 26, PCTVL 24, People's Party 21, ZZS 12, First Party 10, LNNK 7
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court (judges' appointments are confirmed by Parliament)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Alliance of the Greens and Farmers Union or ZZS [Augusts BRIGMANIS (Farmer's Union); Indulis EMSIS (Green Party)]; CENTER Political Alliance [Juris CELMINS]; First Party of Latvia [Eriks JEKABSONS]; For Fatherland and Freedom or LNNK [Maris GRINBLATS]; For Human Rights in a United Latvia or PCTVL [Janis JURKANS], a coalition of the People's Harmony Party or TSP, the Latvian Socialist Party or LSP, and the Equal Rights Movement; Freedom Party [Ziedonis CEVERS]; Land of Mara [Irena SAPROVSKA]; Latvian Rebirth Party [Andris RUBINS]; Latvian Social-Democratic Workers Party (Social Democrats) or LSDSP [Juris BOJARS]; Latvia's Way Union or LC [Janis NAGLIS]; Light of Latgale or LG [Rihards EIGIMS]; New Era Party [Einars REPSE]; Our Land Party [Ilmars ANCANS]; Party of Latvians [Aivars GARDA]; People's Party [Andris SKELE]; Progressive Center Party [Inta STAMGUTE]; Russian Party [Mihails GAVRILOVS]; Social Democratic Union or SDS [Egils BALDZENS]; Social Democratic Welfare Party or SLP [Juris ZURAVLOVS]; United Republican Party of Latvia or LARP [Eriks Andrejs SAULUNS, Janis PUKIS, Sarmite JEGERE]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
NA
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
BIS, CBSS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EU (new member), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate partner), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Aivis RONIS
chancery: 4325 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
telephone: [1] (202) 726-8213, 8214
FAX: [1] (202) 726-6785
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Brian E. CARLSON
embassy: 7 Raina Boulevard, Riga LV-1510
mailing address: American Embassy Riga, PSC 78, Box Riga, APO AE 09723
telephone: [371] 703-6200
FAX: [371] 781-0047
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
three horizontal bands of maroon (top), white (half-width), and maroon

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   Economy    Latvia
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Latvia's transitional economy recovered from the 1998 Russian financial crisis, largely due to the SKELE 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. Preparing for EU membership continues as a top foreign policy goal. 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.
GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $23.9 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7.4% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $10,200 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 4.5%
industry: 24.5%
services: 70.9% (2003)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
27.1% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 25.9% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
32 (1999)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.9% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.18 million (2003 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 15%, industry 25%, services 60% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.6% (2003 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $3.691 billion
expenditures: $3.871 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2003 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
14.4% of GDP (2003)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
grain, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
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 production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.365 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.046 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
703 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
2.69 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
44,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.7 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.7 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-955.9 million (2003)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$3 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
wood and wood products, machinery and equipment, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
UK 20.5%, Germany 12.2%, Sweden 11.6%, US 10%, Estonia 4.7%, Russia 4.4%, Denmark 4.3% (2003 est.)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$4.921 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, vehicles
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Germany 16%, Russia 14.3%, Lithuania 11%, Estonia 6.7%, Finland 5.7%, Sweden 5.5%, Italy 4.9% (2003 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.535 billion (2003)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$6.793 billion (2003 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$96.2 million (1995)
Currency:
Definition Field Listing
Latvian lat (LVL)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
LVL
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
lati per US dollar - 0.5715 (2003), 0.6182 (2002), 0.6279 (2001), 0.6065 (2000), 0.5852 (1999)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year

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   Communications    Latvia
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
653,900 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,219,600 (2003)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: inadequate, but is being modernized to provide an international capability independent of the Moscow international switch; more facilities are being installed for individual use
domestic: expansion underway in intercity trunk line connections, rural exchanges, and mobile systems; still many unsatisfied subscriber applications
international: country code - 371; international connections are now available via cable and a satellite earth station at Riga, enabling direct connections for most calls (1998)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 8, FM 56, shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
44 (plus 31 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.lv
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
51,758 (2004)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
936,000 (2003)

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   Transportation    Latvia
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 2,303 km
broad gauge: 2,270 km 1.520-m gauge (257 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 33 km 0.750-m gauge (2003)
Highways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 73,202 km
paved: 28,256 km
unpaved: 44,946 km (2000)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing
300 km (perennially navigable)
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing
gas 1,097 km; oil 412 km; refined products 421 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Liepaja, Riga, Ventspils
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 11 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 53,153 GRT/37,414 DWT
by type: cargo 6, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 1, short-sea/passenger 1
foreign-owned: Germany 1, Greece 1, Ukraine 1
registered in other countries: 96 (2003 est.)
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
51 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 27
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 16 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 24
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 20 (2003 est.)

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   Military    Latvia
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force, Border Guard, Home Guard (Zemessardze)
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 594,596 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 466,659 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 19,209 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$87 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.2% (FY01)

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   Transnational Issues    Latvia
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
the Russian Duma refuses to ratify boundary delimitation treaty with Latvia; the Latvian Parliament has not ratified its 1998 maritime boundary treaty with Lithuania, primarily due to concerns over oil exploration rights
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
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; vulnerable to money laundering despite improved legislation due to nascent enforcement capabilities and comparatively weak regulation of offshore companies, exchange firms, and the gaming industry; organized crime (including counterfeiting, corruption, extortion, stolen cars, and prostitution) accounts for most laundered proceeds

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