Some of my best friends are Latvian

Latvia is no longer the second largest Baltic country. That honor now belongs to the online social network, whose number of users now surpasses the population of the country in which it is based. The portal began operating in 2004.

Sometime in the past several days, the number of registered users on topped the 2.3 million mark. According to the Central Statistical Bureau in Rīga, Latvia’s estimated population in March was 2.269 million. And unlike the social network’s user count, which keeps increasing, Latvia’s population keeps slipping. Compared to March 2006, Latvia’s population last month was almost 1 percent smaller.

Of course, not all the folks registered on are from Latvia—or even real, for that matter. Nonetheless, it seems a sobering comparison.

Here is a friendly suggestion: Maybe should start a dating service. Then some of the virtual contacts could turn into real relationships that, well, by and by might lead to an uptick in Latvia’s population.

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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