Emigration from Latvia to other countries appears to be on the upswing this year after slowing in 2007, according to data provided by the Central Statistical Bureau in Rīga. At the same time, immigration continues to increase, although the net result is still a loss in population.
In the first six months of this year, 2,752 persons emigrated from Latvia compared to 2,110 during the same period in 2007, an increase of 30.4 percent.
Emigration from Latvia has been an up and down affair for the past decade. The most recent spike in emigration was in 2006—two years after Latvia joined the European Union—when a total of 5,252 people left the country. Last year, a total of 4,183 persons emigrated, but if the trend recorded in the first half of this year continues, the final number for 2008 could be higher again.
On the other hand, immigration to Latvia in the first half of this year jumped more than 33 percent over the same period in 2007. From January through June of last year, 1,410 persons came to live in Latvia. Through June of this year, 1,878 had immigrated.
From 1998 through 2003, immigration to Latvia declined steadily. But in 2004 the trend reversed. Last year, a total of 3,541 came to live in Latvia, an increase of 26.4 percent over 2006, when 2,801 persons immigrated to the country.
During the first half of this year, the difference between emigration and immigration resulted in a net loss of 874 persons, according to the Central Statistical Bureau. The net loss for all of 2007 was just 642 persons.
The population of Latvia in June stood at 2.266 million.
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