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Latvia Country Guide

Explore Latvia in Europe

Latvia with the capital city Riga is located in Europe (Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea). It covers some 64,589 square kilometres (slightly larger than West Virginia) with 2,245,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Latvia

The topography includes low plain. The average density of population is approximately 35 per km². The notable climate conditions in Latvia can be described as maritime with wet, moderate winters. Possible natural disasters include NA.

To reach someone in Latvia dial +371 prior to a number. There are 644,000 installed telephones. And there are 2,243,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900/1800 MHz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".lv". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 220V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Latvia

Latvia Flag Icon

Three horizontal bands of maroon (top), white (half-width), and maroon; the flag is one of the older banners in the world; a medieval chronicle mentions a red standard with a white stripe being used by Latvian tribes in about 1280.

The name "Latvia" originates from the ancient Latgalians, one of four eastern Baltic tribes that formed the ethnic core of the Latvian people (ca. 8th-12th centuries A.D.). The region subsequently came under the control of Germans, Poles, Swedes, and finally, Russians. A Latvian republic emerged following World War I, but it was annexed by the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. Latvia 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 28% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.

National administrative regions of Latvia

Geography Quick-Facts

SummaryContinent: Europe
Neighbours: Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, Russia
Capital: Riga
Size64,589 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 24,937 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly larger than West Virginia
CurrencyName Lat, Currency Code:LVL
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD).lv
Telephone Country Prefix+371
Mobile Phone Connections2,243,000
Landline Phone Connections644,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Area64,589 (sq km)124

People and Society

Value nameValueWorld Rank
Population2,178,443 143
Population growth rate-0.61 (%)226
Birth rate9.91 (births/1,000 population)197
Death rate13.60 (deaths/1,000 population)15
Net migration rate-2.36 (migrant(s)/1,000 population)168
Maternal mortality rate34.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)119
Infant mortality rate8.08 (deaths/1,000 live births)157
Life expectancy at birth73.19 (years)123
Total fertility rate1.34 (children born/woman)210
Health expenditures6.70 (% of GDP)92
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.70 (%)60
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS8,600 105
HIV/AIDS - deaths1,000 75
Obesity - adult prevalence rate24.90 (%)62
Education expenditures5.00 (% of GDP)75
Unemployment, youth ages 15-2429.10 (%)29


Value nameValueWorld Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity)37,880,000,000 107
GDP - real growth rate5.60 (%)50
GDP - per capita (PPP)18,600 73
Labor force1,139,000 140
Unemployment rate14.30 (%)141
Distribution of family income - Gini index35.20 88
Investment (gross fixed)22.20 (% of GDP)68
Taxes and other revenues33.30 (% of GDP)77
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-2.60 (% of GDP)100
Public debt44.00 (% of GDP)79
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.50 (%)55
Central bank discount rate3.50 (%)98
Commercial bank prime lending rate6.39 (%)136
Stock of narrow money8,237,000,000 81
Stock of broad money12,090,000,000 101
Stock of domestic credit19,760,000,000 86
Market value of publicly traded shares1,252,000,000 106
Industrial production growth rate9.00 (%)17
Current account balance-462,900,000 93
Exports12,490,000,000 85
Imports15,920,000,000 85
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold6,925,000,000 81
Debt - external39,810,000,000 65
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home13,360,000,000 79
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad1,037,000,000 76


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Electricity - production6,460,000,000 (kWh)109
Electricity - consumption6,215,000,000 (kWh)104
Electricity - exports3,100,000,000 (kWh)37
Electricity - imports3,973,000,000 (kWh)40
Electricity - installed generating capacity2,164,000 (kW)100
Electricity - from fossil fuels27.30 (% of total installed capacity)185
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants71.00 (% of total installed capacity)22
Electricity - from other renewable sources1.80 (% of total installed capacity)63
Refined petroleum products - consumption31,340 (bbl/day)114
Refined petroleum products - exports3,126 (bbl/day)101
Refined petroleum products - imports33,730 (bbl/day)84
Natural gas - consumption1,520,000,000 (cu m)83
Natural gas - imports1,520,000,000 (cu m)52
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy9,066,000 (Mt)104


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Telephones - main lines in use516,300 97
Telephones - mobile cellular2,309,000 134
Internet hosts359,604 58
Internet users1,504,000 81


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Airports42 102
Railways2,239 (km)67
Roadways73,074 (km)63
Waterways300 (km)93
Merchant marine11 113


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Military expenditures1.10 (% of GDP)122

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Historic Centre of Riga
Riga was a major centre of the Hanseatic League, deriving its prosperity in the 13th–15th centuries from the trade with central and eastern Europe. The urban fabric of its medieval centre reflects this prosperity, though most of the earliest building ...