Short-term visitors abroad asked to participate as census begins in Latvia

Residents of Latvia who find themselves abroad for a short time are encouraged to be counted as part the country’s 2011 census, Central Statistical Bureau officials say.

However, long-term residents of foreign countries will not be counted as part of Latvia’s population in the census that began March 1 and continues to May 31.

Persons who have lived outside Latvia for more than a year should not complete the census form. They will be counted in whichever country they live when that country holds its census.

Latvian residents who find themselves abroad may use the online census form available at The Central Statistical Bureau will have the online form available through March 10.

On March 17, census workers will begin visiting Latvian residents around the country.

Thousands of people used the Web-based form on March 1, although the server at one point was overloaded and users could not gain access, according to census officials.

Results of the census are to be reported to the government by Feb. 1, 2012. It is expected that the census will show Latvia’s population has dropped significantly since the last headcount in 2000, which showed a total of 2.37 million residents, of whom 57.7 percent were ethnic Latvians. Since Latvia joined the European Union in 2004, emigration from the country has increased, with tens of thousands of persons moving to countries such as Ireland and the United Kingdom in search of work.

The Central Statistical Bureau estimates that at the end of February a total of 2.227 million people lived in Latvia.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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