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Introduction - Latvia:
BackgroundAfter a brief period of independence between the two World Wars, Latvia was annexed by the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. It reestablished its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Although the last Russian troops left in 1994, the status of the Russian minority (some 30% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.
Location - Latvia:
LocationEastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania
Geographic coordinates57 00 N, 25 00 E
Map referencesEurope
Areatotal: 64,589 sq km
land: 63,589 sq km
water: 1,000 sq km
Area comparativeslightly larger than West Virginia
Land boundariestotal: 1,368 km
border countries: Belarus 167 km, Estonia 343 km, Lithuania 576 km, Russia 282 km
Coastline531 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climatemaritime; wet, moderate winters
Terrainlow plain
Elevation extremeslowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Galzina Kalns 312 m
Natural resourcespeat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, wood, arable land
Land usearable land: 28.19%
permanent crops: 0.45%
other: 71.36% (2005)
Irrigated land200 sq km
note: land in Latvia is often too wet, and in need of drainage, not irrigation; approximately 16,000 sq km or 85% of agricultural land has been improved by drainage (2003)
Natural hazardsNA
Environment current issuesLatvias environment has benefited from a shift to service industries after the country regained independence; the main environmental priorities are improvement of drinking water quality and sewage system, household, and hazardous waste management, as well as reduction of air pollution; in 2001, Latvia closed the EU accession negotiation chapter on environment committing to full enforcement of EU environmental directives by 2010
Environment international agreementsparty to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography notemost of the country is composed of fertile, low-lying plains, with some hills in the east
People - Latvia:
Population2,259,810 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 13.6% (male 157,451/female 150,184)
15-64 years: 69.6% (male 764,910/female 808,848)
65 years and over: 16.7% (male 123,952/female 254,465) (2007 est.)
Median agetotal: 39.6 years
male: 36.6 years
female: 42.7 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate-0.648% (2007 est.)
Birth rate9.43 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate13.64 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate-2.27 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.048 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.946 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.487 male(s)/female
total population: 0.862 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 9.16 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 11.08 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.13 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 71.6 years
male: 66.39 years
female: 77.1 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate1.28 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rate0.6% (2001 est.)
Hiv aids people living with hiv aids7,600 (2001 est.)
Hiv aids deathsless than 500 (2003 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Latvian(s)
adjective: Latvian
Ethnic groupsLatvian 57.7%, Russian 29.6%, Belarusian 4.1%, Ukrainian 2.7%, Polish 2.5%, Lithuanian 1.4%, other 2% (2002)
ReligionsLutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox
LanguagesLatvian (official) 58.2%, Russian 37.5%, Lithuanian and other 4.3% (2000 census)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.7%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.7% (2000 census)
Government - Latvia:
Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Latvia
conventional short form: Latvia
local long form: Latvijas Republika
local short form: Latvija
former: Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic
Government typeparliamentary democracy
Capitalname: Riga
geographic coordinates: 56 57 N, 24 06 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions26 counties (singular - rajons) and 7 municipalities*: Aizkraukles Rajons, Aluksnes Rajons, Balvu Rajons, Bauskas Rajons, Cesu Rajons, Daugavpils*, Daugavpils Rajons, Dobeles Rajons, Gulbenes Rajons, Jekabpils Rajons, Jelgava*, Jelgavas Rajons, Jurmala*, Kraslavas Rajons, Kuldigas Rajons, Liepaja*, Liepajas Rajons, Limbazu Rajons, Ludzas Rajons, Madonas Rajons, Ogres Rajons, Preilu Rajons, Rezekne*, Rezeknes Rajons, Riga*, Rigas Rajons, Saldus Rajons, Talsu Rajons, Tukuma Rajons, Valkas Rajons, Valmieras Rajons, Ventspils*, Ventspils Rajons
Independence18 November 1918 (from Soviet Russia)
National holidayIndependence Day, 18 November (1918); note - 18 November 1918 was the date Latvia declared itself independent from Soviet Russia; 4 May 1990 is when it declared the renewal of independence; 21 August 1991 was the date of de facto independence from the Soviet Union
Constitution15 February 1922; restored to force by the Constitutional Law of the Republic of Latvia adopted by the Supreme Council on 21 August 1991; multiple amendments since
Legal systembased on civil law system with traces of Socialist legal traditions and practices; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage18 years of age; universal for Latvian citizens
Executive branchchief of state: President Valdis ZATLERS (since 8 July 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Aigars KALVITIS (since 2 December 2004)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the Parliament
elections: president elected by Parliament for a four-year term (no term limits); election last held 31 May 2007 (next to be held 2011); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Valdis ZATLERS elected president; parliamentary vote - Valdis ZATLERS 58, Aivars ENDZINS 39
Legislative branchunicameral Parliament or Saeima (100 seats; members are elected by proportional representation from party lists by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 7 October 2006 (next to be held in October 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - TP 19.5%, ZZS 16.7%, JL 16.4%, SC 14.4%; LPP/LC 8.6%; TB/LNNK 7%; PCTVL 6%; seats by party - TP 23, ZZS 18, JL 18, SC 17, LPP/LC 10, TB/LNNK 8, PCTVL 6
Judicial branchSupreme Court (judges appointments are confirmed by Parliament); Constitutional Court (judges appointments are confirmed by Parliament)
Political parties and leadersFirst Party of Latvia or LPP [Ainars SLESERS]; For Human Rights in a United Latvia or PCTVL [Jakovs PLINERS]; For the Fatherland and Freedom/Latvian National Independence Movement or TB/LNNK [Roberts ZILE, Maris GRINBLATS]; Harmony Center or SC [Janis URBANOVICS, Nils USAKOVS]; Latvian Farmers Union or LZS [Augusts BRIGMANIS]; Latvian Social Democratic Workers Party (Social Democrats) or LSDSP [Juris BOJARS]; Latvian Socialist Party or LSP [Alfreds RUBIKS]; Latvias Way or LC [Ivars GODMANIS, Ainars BERZINS]; New Democrats or JD [Maris GULBIS]; New Era Party or JL [Einars REPSE, Krisjanis KARINS]; Peoples Party or TP [Aigars KALVITIS]; The Union of Latvian Greens and Farmers Party or ZZS [Indulis EMSIS]
Political pressure groups and leadersHeadquarters for the Protection of Russian Schools (SHTAB) [Aleksandr KAZAKOV]
International organization participationAustralia Group, BA, BIS, CBSS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate partner), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the uschief of mission: Ambassador Andrejs PILDEGOVICS
chancery: 2306 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 328-2840
FAX: [1] (202) 328-2860
Diplomatic representation from the uschief of mission: Ambassador Catherine Todd BAILEY
embassy: 7 Raina Boulevard, Riga LV-1510
mailing address: American Embassy Riga, PSC 78, Box Riga, APO AE 09723
telephone: [371] 703-6200
FAX: [371] 782-0047
Flag descriptionthree horizontal bands of maroon (top), white (half-width), and maroon
Economy - Latvia:
Economy overviewLatvias economy experienced average GDP growth of more than 7.0% over the past several years. In 2006 it reached 10.2% real GDP growth. The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized, although the state still holds sizable stakes in a few large enterprises. Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization in February 1999. EU membership, a top foreign policy goal, came in May 2004. The current account deficit - more than 15% of GDP in 2006 - and inflation remain major concerns.
Gdp purchasing power parity $36.49 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp official exchange rate $16.5 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp real growth rate11.9% (2006 est.)
Gdp per capita ppp $16,000 (2006 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 3.7%
industry: 26.3%
services: 70% (2006 est.)
Labor force1.136 million (2006 est.)
Labor force by occupationagriculture: 13%
industry: 19%
services: 68% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate6.5% (December 2006 est.)
Population below poverty lineNA%
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 26.1% (1998)
Distribution of family income gini index35 (2003)
Inflation rate consumer prices 6.8% (December 2006 est.)
Investment gross fixed 31.4% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $6.172 billion
expenditures: $6.45 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt11% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture productsgrain, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish
Industriesbuses, vans, street and railroad cars; synthetic fibers, agricultural machinery, fertilizers, washing machines, radios, electronics, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, textiles; note - dependent on imports for energy and raw materials
Industrial production growth rate8.5% (2006 est.)
Electricity production4.55 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity consumption6.329 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity exports707 million kWh (2005)
Electricity imports2.855 billion kWh (2005)
Oil production0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil consumption47,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil exports6,765 bbl/day (2004)
Oil imports39,190 bbl/day (2004)
Oil proved reserves0 bbl
Natural gas production0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas consumption1.91 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas exports0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas imports1.91 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance-$2.538 billion (2006 est.)
Exports$6.98 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports commoditieswood and wood products, machinery and equipment, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
Exports partnersLithuania 14.1%, Estonia 12.2%, Russia 11.6%, Germany 9.8%, UK 7.7%, Sweden 6.3%, Denmark 4.8% (2006)
Imports$10.33 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports commoditiesmachinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, vehicles
Imports partnersGermany 15.4%, Lithuania 13%, Russia 8%, Estonia 7.7%, Poland 7.2%, Finland 5.7%, Sweden 5%, Belarus 4.7% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$2.61 billion (2006 est.)
Debt external$18.9 billion (30 June 2006 est.)
Economic aid recipient$96.2 million (2002 est.)
Currency code Latvian lat (LVL)
Exchange rateslati per US dollar - 0.5597 (2006), - 0.5647 (2005), 0.5402 (2004), 0.5715 (2003), 0.6182 (2002)
Communications - Latvia:
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Telephones main lines in use657,400 (2006)
Telephones mobile cellular2.184 million (2006)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: recent efforts focused on bringing competition to the telecommunications sector, beginning in 2003; the number of fixed lines is decreasing as wireless telephony expands
domestic: 3 wireless service providers including Lattelekom, the incumbent monopoly
international: country code - 371; the Latvian network is now connected via fiber optic cable to Estonia, Finland, and Sweden
Radio broadcast stationsAM 8, FM 56, shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations44 (plus 31 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country
Internet hosts65,858 (2006)
Internet users1.071 million (2006)
Transportation - Latvia:
Airports46 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 24
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 13 (2006)
Airports with unpaved runwaystotal: 22
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 19 (2006)
Pipelinesgas 1,097 km; oil 82 km; refined products 415 km (2006)
Railwaystotal: 2,303 km
broad gauge: 2,270 km 1.520-m gauge (257 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 33 km 0.750-m gauge (2006)
Roadwaystotal: 69,532 km
paved: 69,532 km (2004)
Waterways300 km (2006)
Merchant marinetotal: 21 ships (1000 GRT or over) 250,559 GRT/336,136 DWT
by type: cargo 7, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 7, roll on/roll off 1
registered in other countries: 105 (Antigua and Barbuda 5, Bahamas 1, Belize 6, Cambodia 2, Cyprus 4, Dominica 1, Gibraltar 2, Liberia 14, Malta 40, Marshall Islands 7, Panama 3, Russia 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 18) (2006)
Ports and terminalsRiga, Ventspils
Military - Latvia:
Military branchesLatvian Republic Defense Force: Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force (Latvijas Gaisa Spelki), Border Guard, Latvian Home Guard (Latvijas Zemessardze) (2007)
Military service age and obligation19 years of age for compulsory military service; 18 years of age for volunteers; 12-month conscript service obligation; conscription to be abolished in 2007; under current law, every citizen is entitled to serve in the armed forces for life (2006)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 19-49: 517,713
females age 19-49: 519,631 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 19-49: 361,098
females age 19-49: 422,913 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annuallymales age 18-49: 19,137
females age 19-49: 18,505 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures percent of gdp1.2% (2005 est.)
Disputes internationalRussia refuses to sign the 1997 boundary treaty due to Latvian insistence on a unilateral clarificatory declaration referencing Soviet occupation of Latvia and territorial losses; Russia demands better Latvian treatment of ethnic Russians in Latvia; as of January 2007, ground demarcation of the boundary with Belarus was complete and mapped with final ratification documentation in preparation; the Latvian parliament has not ratified its 1998 maritime boundary treaty with Lithuania, primarily due to concerns over oil exploration rights; as a member state that forms part of the EUs external border, Latvia must implement the strict Schengen border rules with Russia
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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