Latvia

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Several eastern Baltic tribes merged in medieval times to form 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 26% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia acceded to both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004; it joined the euro zone in 2014.

Geography

Location

Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania

Geographic coordinates

57.00° N, 25.00° E

Area 124/257

total: 64,589 sq km

land: 62,249 sq km

water: 2,340 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly larger than West Virginia

Land boundaries

total: 1,370 km

border countries (4): Belarus 161 km, Estonia 333 km, Lithuania 544 km, Russia 332 km

Coastline

498 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: limits as agreed to by Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Sweden, and Russia

continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate

maritime; wet, moderate winters

Terrain

low plain

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m

highest point: Gaizina Kalns 312 m

Natural resources

peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, timber, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 29.2%

arable land 18.6%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 10.5%

forest: 54.1%

other: 16.7% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

12 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 (2012)

Total renewable water resources

35.45 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.42 cu km/yr (42%/45%/13%)

per capita: 177.9 cu m/yr (2007)

Natural hazards

NA

Environment - current issues

Latvia's environment has benefited from a shift to service industries after the country regained independence; improvements have occurred in drinking water quality, sewage treatment, household and hazardous waste management, as well as reduction of air pollution

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

most of the country is composed of fertile low-lying plains with some hills in the east

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Latvian(s)

adjective: Latvian

Ethnic groups

Latvian 61.1%, Russian 26.2%, Belarusian 3.5%, Ukrainian 2.3%, Polish 2.2%, Lithuanian 1.3%, other 3.4% (2013 est.)

Languages

Latvian (official) 56.3%, Russian 33.8%, other 0.6% (includes Polish, Ukrainian, and Belarusian), unspecified 9.4%

note: percentages represent lanugage usually spoken at home (2011 est.)

Religions

Lutheran 19.6%, Orthodox 15.3%, other Christian 1%, other 0.4%, unspecified 63.7% (2006)

Population 147/238

1,986,705 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 14.86% (male 151,296/female 143,968)

15-24 years: 10.47% (male 107,301/female 100,779)

25-54 years: 42.25% (male 414,648/female 424,745)

55-64 years: 13.44% (male 117,851/female 149,063)

65 years and over: 18.98% (male 122,507/female 254,547) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 52.2%

youth dependency ratio: 22.7%

elderly dependency ratio: 29.5%

potential support ratio: 3.4% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 42.9 years

male: 39.2 years

female: 46.3 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 231/233

-1.06% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 194/224

10 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 5/225

14.31 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 200/222

-6.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 67.4% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: -0.67% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

RIGA (capital) 621,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.07 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.79 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.48 male(s)/female

total population: 0.85 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

26.4 (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 120/184

18 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 174/224

total: 5.36 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 5.76 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 4.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 123/224

total population: 74.23 years

male: 69.62 years

female: 79.07 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 195/224

1.5 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Health expenditures 110/191

5.7% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

3.58 physicians/1,000 population (2012)

Hospital bed density

5.9 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 99.8% of population

rural: 98.3% of population

total: 99.3% of population

unimproved:

urban: 0.2% of population

rural: 1.7% of population

total: 0.7% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 90.8% of population

rural: 81.5% of population

total: 87.8% of population

unimproved:

urban: 9.2% of population

rural: 18.5% of population

total: 12.2% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths

NA

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 62/191

25.6% (2014)

Education expenditures 77/173

4.9% of GDP (2011)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 15 years

male: 15 years

female: 16 years (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 28/134

total: 23.2%

male: 21.8%

female: 24.9% (2013 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Latvia

conventional short form: Latvia

local long form: Latvijas Republika

local short form: Latvija

former: Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic

etymology: 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.)

Government type

parliamentary democracy

Capital

name: 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 divisions

110 municipalities (novadi, singular - novads) and 9 cities

municipalities: Adazu Novads, Aglonas Novads, Aizkraukles Novads, Aizputes Novads, Aknistes Novads, Alojas Novads, Alsungas Novads, Aluksnes Novads, Amatas Novads, Apes Novads, Auces Novads, Babites Novads, Baldones Novads, Baltinavas Novads, Balvu Novads, Bauskas Novads, Beverinas Novads, Brocenu Novads, Burtnieku Novads, Carnikavas Novads, Cesu Novads, Cesvaines Novads, Ciblas Novads, Dagdas Novads, Daugavpils Novads, Dobeles Novads, Dundagas Novads, Durbes Novads, Engures Novads, Erglu Novads, Garkalnes Novads, Grobinas Novads, Gulbenes Novads, Iecavas Novads, Ikskiles Novads, Ilukstes Novads, Incukalna Novads, Jaunjelgavas Novads, Jaunpiebalgas Novads, Jaunpils Novads, Jekabpils Novads, Jelgavas Novads, Kandavas Novads, Karsavas Novads, Keguma Novads, Kekavas Novads, Kocenu Novads, Kokneses Novads, Kraslavas Novads, Krimuldas Novads, Krustpils Novads, Kuldigas Novads, Lielvardes Novads, Ligatnes Novads, Limbazu Novads, Livanu Novads, Lubanas Novads, Ludzas Novads, Madonas Novads, Malpils Novads, Marupes Novads, Mazsalacas Novads, Mersraga Novads, Nauksenu Novads, Neretas Novads, Nicas Novads, Ogres Novads, Olaines Novads, Ozolnieku Novads, Pargaujas Novads, Pavilostas Novads, Plavinu Novads, Preilu Novads, Priekules Novads, Priekulu Novads, Raunas Novads, Rezeknes Novads, Riebinu Novads, Rojas Novads, Ropazu Novads, Rucavas Novads, Rugaju Novads, Rujienas Novads, Rundales Novads, Salacgrivas Novads, Salas Novads, Salaspils Novads, Saldus Novads, Saulkrastu Novads, Sejas Novads, Siguldas Novads, Skriveru Novads, Skrundas Novads, Smiltenes Novads, Stopinu Novads, Strencu Novads, Talsu Novads, Tervetes Novads, Tukuma Novads, Vainodes Novads, Valkas Novads, Varaklanu Novads, Varkavas Novads, Vecpiebalgas Novads, Vecumnieku Novads, Ventspils Novads, Viesites Novads, Vilakas Novads, Vilanu Novads, Zilupes Novads

cities: Daugavpils, Jekabpils, Jelgava, Jurmala, Liepaja, Rezekne, Riga, Valmiera, Ventspils

Independence

4 May 1990 (declared); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union)

National holiday

Independence Day, 18 November (1918); note - 18 November 1918 was the date Latvia declared independence from Soviet Russia and established its statehood; 4 May 1990 was the date it declared its independence from the Soviet Union

Constitution

several previous (preindependence); note - following independence in 1991, parts of the 1922 constitution were reinforced and fully reinforced 6 July 1993; amended several times, last in 2014 (2015)

Legal system

civil law system with traces of socialist legal traditions and practices

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Latvia

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Raimonds VEJONIS (since 8 July 2015)

head of government: Prime Minister (vacant); note - Prime minister Laimdota STRAUJUMA (since 22 January 2014) resigned 7 December 2015

cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers nominated by the prime minister, appointed by Parliament

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by Parliament for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 3 June 2015 (next to be held in 2019); prime minister appointed by the president, confirmed by Parliament

election results: Andris BERZINS (ZZS) elected president; Parliament vote - Raimonds VEJONIS 55 of 100

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament or Saeima (100 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 4 October 2014 (next to be held in October 2018)

election results: percent of vote by party - SC 23%, Unity 21.9%, ZZS 19.5%, NA 16.6%, NSL 6.9%, LRA 6.7%, other 5.4%; seats by party - SC 24, Unity 23, ZZS 21, NA 17, LRA 8, NSL 7

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the Senate with 27 judges and Supreme Court of Chambers with 22 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 7 judges)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by chief justice and confirmed by the Saeima; judges serve until age 70, but term can be extended 2 years; Constitutional Court judges - 3 nominated by Saeima members, 2 by Cabinet ministers, and 2 by plenum of Supreme Court; all judges confirmed by Saeima majority vote; Constitutional Court president and vice president serve in their positions for 3 years; all judges serve 10-year terms; mandatory retirement at age 70

subordinate courts: district (city) and regional courts

Political parties and leaders

Alliance of Regions or LRA [Martins BONDARS]

For Latvia from the Heart or NSL [Inguna SUDRABA]

Social Democratic Party "Harmony" or SC [Nils USAKOVS]

National Alliance "All For Latvia!"-"For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK" or NA [Gaidis BERZINS, Raivis DZINTARS]

Union of Greens and Farmers or ZZS [Augusts BRIGMANIS]

Unity [Solvita ABOLTINA]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Employers' Confederation of Latvia [Vitalijs GAVRILOVS]

Farmers' Parliament [Juris LAZDINS]

Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia [Peteris KRIGERS]

International organization participation

Australia Group, BA, BIS, CBSS, CD, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA (cooperating state), EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Flag description

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

National symbol(s)

white wagtail (bird); national colors: maroon, white

National anthem

name: "Dievs, sveti Latviju!" (God Bless Latvia)

lyrics/music: Karlis BAUMANIS

note: adopted 1920, restored 1990; first performed in 1873 while Latvia was a part of Russia; banned during the Soviet occupation from 1940 to 1990

Economy

Economy - overview

Latvia is a small, open economy with exports contributing nearly a third of GDP. Due to its geographical location, transit services are highly-developed, along with timber and wood-processing, agriculture and food products, and manufacturing of machinery and electronics industries. Corruption continues to be an impediment to attracting foreign direct investment and Latvia's low birth rate and decreasing population are major challenges to its long-term economic vitality. Latvia's economy experienced GDP growth of more than 10% per year during 2006-07, but entered a severe recession in 2008 as a result of an unsustainable current account deficit and large debt exposure amid the softening world economy. Triggered by the collapse of the second largest bank, GDP plunged 18% in 2009. The economy has not returned to pre-crisis levels despite strong growth, especially in the export sector in 2011-14. The IMF, EU, and other international donors provided substantial financial assistance to Latvia as part of an agreement to defend the currency's peg to the euro in exchange for the government's commitment to stringent austerity measures. The IMF/EU program successfully concluded in December 2011. The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized, although the state still holds sizable stakes in a few large enterprises, including 99.8% ownership of the Latvian national airline. Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization in February 1999 and the EU in May 2004. Latvia joined the euro zone in 2014.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 110/230

$49.89 billion (2015 est.)

$48.84 billion (2014 est.)

$47.71 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$27.82 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 140/225

2.2% (2015 est.)

2.4% (2014 est.)

4.2% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 76/230

$24,500 (2015 est.)

$24,000 (2014 est.)

$23,500 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 69/179

21.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

21% of GDP (2014 est.)

21.5% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 62%

government consumption: 17.4%

investment in fixed capital: 23.3%

investment in inventories: 0.8%

exports of goods and services: 68%

imports of goods and services: -71.5%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 3.4%

industry: 23.2%

services: 73.4% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

grain, rapeseed, potatoes, vegetables; pork, poultry, milk, eggs; fish

Industries

processed foods, processed wood products, textiles, processed metals, pharmaceuticals, railroad cars, synthetic fibers, electronics

Industrial production growth rate 87/202

3% (2015 est.)

Labor force 145/233

993,500 (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 8.8%

industry: 24%

services: 67.2% (2010 est.)

Unemployment rate 100/207

8.7% (2015 est.)

8.9% (2014 est.)

Population below poverty line

NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.7%

highest 10%: 27.6% (2008)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 91/144

35.2 (2010)

32 (1999)

Budget

revenues: $9.394 billion

expenditures: $9.707 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 70/219

33.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 54/220

-1.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 120/176

38.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

40% of GDP (2014 est.)

note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities, including sub-sectors of central government, state government, local government, and social security funds

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 61/226

0.7% (2015 est.)

0.6% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 141/156

0.05% (31 December 2011)

0.3% (31 December 2010)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 154/184

4.5% (31 December 2015 est.)

4.6% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 87/192

$7.543 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$8.969 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 99/193

$12.88 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$13.41 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 98/191

$12.54 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$15.46 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 106/121

$1.115 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

$1.076 billion (31 December 2011)

$1.252 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 94/197

-$476 million (2015 est.)

-$995 million (2014 est.)

Exports 80/224

$13.33 billion (2015 est.)

$13.41 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

foodstuffs, wood and wood products, metals, machinery and equipment, textiles

Exports - partners

Lithuania 17.7%, Russia 14.7%, Estonia 11.2%, Germany 6.6%, Poland 6.2%, Sweden 5.1%, UK 4.7% (2014)

Imports 79/223

$16.4 billion (2015 est.)

$16.65 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, fuels, vehicles

Imports - partners

Lithuania 17%, Germany 11.7%, Poland 10.9%, Russia 7.7%, Estonia 7.7%, Finland 5.8%, Italy 4.1% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 82/170

$7.507 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$7.893 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Debt - external 69/206

$40.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$42.06 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 80/120

$17.45 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$15.85 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 77/105

$2.714 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$2.454 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

lati (LVL) per US dollar -

0.93 (2015 est.)

0.75 (2014 est.)

0.75 (2013 est.)

0.55 (2012 est.)

0.5 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 115/220

6.008 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 104/219

7.141 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 34/218

3.65 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 40/219

5.005 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 103/214

2.245 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 186/214

26.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 127/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 23/214

70.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 68/212

3.5% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 157/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 90/214

117.9 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 82/214

140 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 156/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 201/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 112/212

34,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 85/214

11,590 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 82/213

45,630 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 211/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 86/215

1.41 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 133/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 55/214

1.41 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 159/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 111/212

7.897 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 106/219

total subscriptions: 390,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 19 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 145/217

total: 2.5 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 126 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: recent efforts focused on bringing competition to the telecommunications sector; the number of fixed lines is decreasing as mobile-cellular telephone service expands

domestic: number of telecommunications operators has grown rapidly since the fixed-line market opened to competition in 2003; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership roughly 150 per 100 persons

international: country code - 371; the Latvian network is now connected via fiber optic cable to Estonia, Finland, and Sweden (2008)

Broadcast media

several national and regional commercial TV stations are foreign-owned, 2 national TV stations are publicly owned; system supplemented by privately owned regional and local TV stations; cable and satellite multi-channel TV services with domestic and foreign broadcasts available; publicly owned broadcaster operates 4 radio networks with dozens of stations throughout the country; dozens of private broadcasters also operate radio stations (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 8, FM 62, shortwave 1 (2008)

Television broadcast stations

37 (plus 31 repeaters) (2008)

Internet country code

.lv

Internet hosts 58/232

359,604 (2012)

Internet users 110/217

total: 1.5 million

percent of population: 76.5% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 101/236

42 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 18

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 7 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 24

under 914 m: 24 (2013)

Heliports

1 (2013)

Pipelines

gas 928 km; refined products 415 km (2013)

Railways 68/136

total: 2,239 km

broad gauge: 2,206 km 1.520-m gauge

narrow gauge: 33 km 0.750-m gauge (2008)

Roadways 64/223

total: 72,440 km

paved: 14,707 km

unpaved: 57,733 km (2013)

Waterways 92/107

300 km (navigable year round) (2010)

Merchant marine 113/156

total: 11

by type: cargo 3, chemical tanker 1, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 1

foreign-owned: 3 (Estonia 3)

registered in other countries: 79 (Antigua and Barbuda 16, Belize 9, Comoros 2, Dominica 2, Georgia 1, Liberia 5, Malta 8, Marshall Islands 19, Russia 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 15) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Riga, Ventspils

Military and Security

Military branches

National Armed Forces (Nacionalo Brunoto Speku): Land Forces (Latvijas Sauszemes Speki), Navy (Latvijas Juras Speki; includes Coast Guard (Latvijas Kara Flotes)), Latvian Air Force (Latvijas Gaisa Speki), Latvian Home Guard (Latvijas Zemessardze) (2011)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; no conscription; under current law, every citizen is entitled to serve in the armed forces for life (2012)

Military expenditures 105/132

0.91% of GDP (2014)

0.99% of GDP (2013)

0.92% of GDP (2012)

1.05% of GDP (2011)

0.92% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Russia demands better Latvian treatment of ethnic Russians in Latvia; boundary demarcated with Latvia and Lithuania; 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 EU's external border, Latvia has implemented the strict Schengen border rules with Russia

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 262,802 (2014); note - individuals who were Latvian citizens prior to the 1940 Soviet occupation and their descendants were recognized as Latvian citizens when the country's independence was restored in 1991; citizens of the former Soviet Union residing in Latvia who have neither Latvian nor other citizenship are considered non-citizens (officially there is no statelessness in Latvia) and are entitled to non-citizen passports; children born after Latvian independence to stateless parents are entitled to Latvian citizenship upon their parents' request; non-citizens cannot vote or hold certain government jobs and are exempt from military service but can travel visa-free in the EU under the Schengen accord like Latvian citizens; non-citizens can obtain naturalization if they have been permanent residents of Latvia for at least five years, pass tests in Latvian language and history, and know the words of the Latvian national anthem

Illicit drugs

transshipment and destination point for cocaine, synthetic drugs, opiates, and cannabis from Southwest Asia, Western Europe, Latin America, and neighboring Balkan countries; despite improved legislation, vulnerable to money laundering due to nascent enforcement capabilities and comparatively weak regulation of offshore companies and the gaming industry; CIS organized crime (including counterfeiting, corruption, extortion, stolen cars, and prostitution) accounts for most laundered proceeds