Statistics say Latvia’s population decline slowing

The latest demographic update from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia holds out hope that the country’s population decline is slowing, while births may increase in the future.

The nation’s population stood at 2.288 million on July 1, the statistical bureau reported Aug. 28. That was 0.3 percent less than at the beginning of the year, but represented a smaller population decrease than last year.

Meanwhile, the bureau noted that the decrease in the number of women of child-bearing age (15-49) also has slowed, suggesting that the birth rate could stablize and even increase. A total of 10,680 births were recorded in Latvia during the first half of this year, a small decrease from the 10,719 births recorded for the same period last year. Last year’s total births of 21,500 was the highest number recorded in 10 years, the statistical bureau said.

The infant mortality rate—referring to deaths within the first year after birth—also continues to decline. During the first half of this year 69 deaths were recorded, down from the 81 during the first half of 2005. Last year also saw the lowest infant mortality rate—7.8 per 1,000 residents—in 60 years, the bureau said.

Deaths in the first half of this year totaled 17,380, an increase from the 16,895 recorded last year.

The number of marriages also continues to increase. During the first half of last year, 4,146 marriages were recorded in Latvia. In the first half of this year, Latvia recorded 4,765 marriages.

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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