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The World Factbook 2002

         
  Latvia  
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  Introduction
  Geography
  People
  Government
  Economy
  Communications
  Transportation
  Military
  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.


This page was last updated on 1 January 2002


Map of Latvia

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Latvia
Background:
Definition Field Listing
After a brief period of independence between the two World Wars, Latvia was annexed by the USSR in 1940. 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 continues to revamp its economy for eventual integration into various Western European political and economic institutions.
   Geography    Latvia
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
57 00 N, 25 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Europe
Area:
Definition Field Listing
total: 64,589 sq km
water: 1,000 sq km
land: 63,589 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly larger than West Virginia
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1,150 km
border countries: Belarus 141 km, Estonia 339 km, Lithuania 453 km, Russia 217 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
531 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
maritime; wet, moderate winters
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
low plain
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Gaizinkalns 312 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
peat, limestone, dolomite, hydropower, wood, arable land, minimal; amber
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 29%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 71% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
200 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 (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
Latvia's 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, and 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 agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
most of the country is composed of fertile, low-lying plains, with some hills in the east
   People    Latvia
Population:
Definition Field Listing
2,366,515 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 15.8% (male 191,116; female 182,692)
15-64 years: 68.6% (male 775,481; female 847,261)
65 years and over: 15.6% (male 120,304; female 249,661) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.77% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
8.27 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
14.74 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-1.23 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.48 male(s)/female
total population: 0.85 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing
14.96 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: 69 years
female: 75.17 years (2002 est.)
male: 63.13 years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.18 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.12% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
1,792 (15 January 2002)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
36 (15 January 2002)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Latvian(s)
adjective: Latvian
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Latvian 57.7%, Russian 29.6%, Belarusian 4.1%, Ukrainian 2.7%, Polish 2.5%, Lithuanian 1.4%, other 2%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
Latvian (official), Lithuanian, Russian, other
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: NA%
female: NA%
   Government    Latvia
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Republic of Latvia
conventional short form: Latvia
local short form: Latvija
former: Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic
local long form: Latvijas Republika
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
parliamentary democracy
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Riga
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
26 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
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
21 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 18 November (1918); note - 18 November 1918 is the date of independence from Soviet Russia, 21 August 1991 is the date of independence from the Soviet Union
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
the 1991 Constitutional Law which supplements the 1922 constitution, provides for basic rights and freedoms
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on civil law system
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal for Latvian citizens
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA (since 8 July 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Andris BERZINS (since 5 May 2000)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the Parliament
elections: president elected by Parliament for a four-year term; election last held 17 June 1999 (next to be held by June 2003); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA elected as a compromise candidate in second phase of balloting, second round (after five rounds in first phase failed to produce a clear winner); percent of parliamentary vote - Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA 53%, Valdis BIRKAVS 20%, Ingrida UDRE 9%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral Parliament or Saeima (100 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 3 October 1998 (next to be held NA October 2002)
election results: percent of vote by party - People's Party 21%, LC 18%, TSP 14%, TB/LNNK 14%, Social Democrats 13%, New Party 7%; seats by party - People's Party 24, LC 21, TB/LNNK 17, TSP 16, Social Democrats 14, New Party 8
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court (judges' appointments are confirmed by Parliament)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Anticommunist Union or PA [P. MUCENIEKS]; Christian Democrat Union or LKDS [Talavs JUNDZIS]; Christian People's Party or KTP [Uldis AUGSTKALNS]; Democratic Party "Saimnieks" or DPS [Ziedonis CEVERS, chairman]; For Fatherland and Freedom or TB [Maris GRINBLATS], merged with LNNK; For Human Rights in a United Latvia [Janis JURKANS], a coalition of the People's Harmony Party or TSP, the Latvian Socialist Party or LSP, and the Equal Rights Movement; Green Party or LZP [Olegs BATAREVSKI]; Latvian Liberal Party or LLP [J. DANOSS]; Latvian National Conservative Party or LNNK [Andrejs KRASTINS]; Latvian National Democratic Party or LNDP [A. MALINS]; Latvian Social-Democratic Workers Party (Social Democrats) or LSDWU [Juris BOJARS and Janis ADAMSONS]; Latvian Unity Party or LVP [Alberis KAULS]; Latvia's Way or LC [Andrei PANTELEJEVS]; New Christian Party [Ainars SLESERS]; New Faction [Ingrida UDRE]; New Party [leader NA]; New Times Party [Einars REPSE]; "Our Land" or MZ [M. DAMBEKALNE]; Party of Russian Citizens or LKPP [V. SOROCHIN, V. IVANOV]; People's Party [Andris SKELE]; Political Union of Economists or TPA [Edvins KIDE]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
NA
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
BIS, CBSS, CCC, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WEU (associate partner), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Aivis RONIS
FAX: [1] (202) 726-6785
telephone: [1] (202) 726-8213, 8214
chancery: 4325 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Brian E. CARLSON
embassy: 7 Raina Boulevard, Riga LV-1510
mailing address: American Embassy Riga, PSC 78, Box Riga, APO AE 09723
telephone: [371] 721-0005
FAX: [371] 782-0047
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
three horizontal bands of maroon (top), white (half-width), and maroon
   Economy    Latvia
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Latvia's transitional economy recovered from the 1998 Russian financial crisis, largely due to the SKELE government's budget stringency and a gradual reorientation of exports toward EU countries, lessening Latvia's trade dependency on Russia. The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized. Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization in February 1999 - the first Baltic state to join - and was invited at the Helsinki EU Summit in December 1999 to begin accession talks in early 2000. Preparing for EU membership over the next few years remains a top foreign policy goal. The high current account deficit remains a major concern.
GDP:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $18.6 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
6.3% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $7,800 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 5%
industry: 24%
services: 71% (2000)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 25.9% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
32 (1999)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing
2.5% (2001)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing
1.1 million (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 15%, industry 25%, services 60% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
7.6% (2001 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $2.4 billion
expenditures: $2.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2002 est.)
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
buses, 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 rate:
Definition Field Listing
6.4% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
3.301 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 33.02%
hydro: 66.98%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
5.16 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
500 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
2.59 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
grain, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish
Exports:
Definition Field Listing
$2.2 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
wood and wood products, machinery and equipment, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Germany 17%, UK 16%, Sweden 10%, Lithuania 8% (2001 est.)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing
$3.3 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, vehicles
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Germany 17%, Russia 9%, Lithuania 8%, Finland 8%, Sweden 7% (2001 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$2.6 billion (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$96.2 million (1995)
Currency:
Definition Field Listing
Latvian lat (LVL)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
LVL
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
lati per US dollar - 0.6384 (January 2002), 0.628 (2001), 0.607 (2000), 0.585 (1999), 0.590 (1998), 0.581 (1997)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Latvia
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
734,693 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
401,263 (2000)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: inadequate, but is being modernized to provide an international capability independent of the Moscow international switch; more facilities are being installed for individual use
domestic: expansion underway in intercity trunk line connections, rural exchanges, and mobile systems; still many unsatisfied subscriber applications
international: international connections are now available via cable and a satellite earth station at Riga, enabling direct connections for most calls (1998)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 8, FM 56, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios:
Definition Field Listing
1.76 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
44 (plus 31 repeaters) (1995)
Televisions:
Definition Field Listing
1.22 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.lv
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
41 (2001)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
310,000 (2001)
   Transportation    Latvia
Railways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2,412 km
broad gauge: 2,379 km 1.520-m gauge (271 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 33 km 0.750-m gauge (2001)
Highways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 59,178 km
paved: 22,843 km
unpaved: 36,335 km (1998 est.)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing
300 km (perennially navigable)
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing
crude oil 750 km; refined products 780 km; natural gas 560 km (1992)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Liepaja, Riga, Ventspils
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 6 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 30,119 GRT/30,572 DWT
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Greece 3 (2002 est.)
ships by type: cargo 1, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 4
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
25 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 13
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 4 (2001)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 12
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 7 (2001)
   Military    Latvia
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Ground Forces, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces, Border Guard, National Guard
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 591,592 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 464,843 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 19,114 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing
$87 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing
1.2% (FY01)
   Transnational Issues    Latvia
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
the Russian Duma refuses to ratify boundary delimitation treaty with Latvia; the Latvian Parliament has not ratified its 1998 maritime boundary treaty with Lithuania, primarily due to concerns over oil exploration rights
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
transshipment point for opiates and cannabis from Central and Southwest Asia to Western Europe and Scandinavia and Latin American cocaine and some synthetics from Western Europe to CIS

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002


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