Latvia’s population continued to decline last year, but at a slower pace than in 2006, according to the Central Statistical Bureau in Rīga. Marriages and divorces increased in 2007. Deaths, while registering a slight drop over 2006, nonetheless continued to outpace births.
The country’s population at the start of 2008 stood at 2.271 million, according to demographic data released May 6. The figure represented a .46 percent drop from the population at the start of 2007, when the number of people living in Latvia was 2.281 million.
At the beginning of 2006, Latvia’s population was about 2.294 million.
The continued slide in the population is the result of negative natural growth and of emigration, according to the bureau.
A total of 23,273 births were recorded in Latvia last year, a 4.5 percent increase over 2006. The fertility rate, which last year stood at 1.42 children per woman, has in general continued to increase over the past several years, but the statistical bureau noted that the rate would have to be at least 2.1 to ensure an exchange of generations.
Meanwhile, deaths last year totaled 33,042, a decrease of 56 compared to 2006.
A total 4,183 Latvian residents in 2007 emigrated to other countries, while 3,541 persons immigrated to the Latvia.
Marriages continued to gain. A total of 15,486 couples tied the knot last year, a 6 percent gain over 2006. But divorces, totaling of 7,403, also saw an increase—2.1 percent. Latvians are waiting longer to get married, too. The average age of a man at the time of his first marriage was 28.5 last year, compared to 26.9 at the beginning of the 21st century. For women, the average age last year was 26.4, compared to 24.9 in 2000.
Data for the first three months of this year suggest the birth and death trends will continue through 2008, according to the statistical bureau.
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