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Latvia (2005)

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Latvia 2005 year

Administrative divisions 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
Age structure 0-14 years: 14.4% (male 169,284/female 161,648)

15-64 years: 69.4% (male 770,839/female 819,309)

65 years and over: 16.1% (male 120,306/female 248,851) (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products grain, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish
Airports 50 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total: 26

2,438 to 3,047 m: 7

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 16 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 24

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 20 (2004 est.)
Area total: 64,589 sq km

land: 63,589 sq km

water: 1,000 sq km
Area - comparative slightly larger than West Virginia
Background 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 joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.
Birth rate 9.04 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Budget revenues: $4.231 billion

expenditures: $4.504 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)
Capital Riga
Climate maritime; wet, moderate winters
Coastline 531 km
Constitution 15 February 1922; an October 1998 amendment on Fundamental Human Rights replaced the 1991 Constitutional Law, which had supplemented the constitution
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
Death rate 13.7 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Debt - external $7.368 billion (2004 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief 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
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador Maris RIEKSTINS

chancery: 4325 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011

telephone: [1] (202) 726-8213, 8214

FAX: [1] (202) 726-6785
Disputes - international the Latvian-Russian boundary treaty of 1997 remains unsigned and unratified with Russia linking it to better Latvian treatment of ethnic Russians and Latvian politicians demanding Russian agreement to a declaration that admits Soviet aggression during the Second World War and other issues; 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 must implement the strict Schengen border rules
Economic aid - recipient $96.2 million (1995)
Economy - overview Latvia's transitional economy recovered from the 1998 Russian financial crisis, largely due to the 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, 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 and internal government deficits remain major concerns, but the government's efforts to increase efficiency in revenue collection may lessen the budget deficit. A growing perception that many of Latvia's banks facilitate illicit activity could damage the country's vibrant financial sector.
Electricity - consumption 5.829 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports 1.1 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports 2.7 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production 4.547 billion kWh (2002)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m

highest point: Gaizinkalns 312 m
Environment - current issues 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, 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 agreements party 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
Ethnic groups Latvian 57.7%, Russian 29.6%, Belarusian 4.1%, Ukrainian 2.7%, Polish 2.5%, Lithuanian 1.4%, other 2% (2002)
Exchange rates lati per US dollar - 0.5402 (2004), 0.5715 (2003), 0.6182 (2002), 0.6279 (2001), 0.6065 (2000)
Executive branch chief of state: President Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA (since 8 July 1999)

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 reelected by Parliament for a four-year term; election last held 20 June 2003 (next to be held by June 2007); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA reelected president; parliamentary vote - Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA 88 of 94 votes cast
Exports 1.1 billion kWh (2002)
Exports $3.569 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports 0 cu m (2001 est.)
Exports NA
Exports - commodities wood and wood products, machinery and equipment, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
Exports - partners UK 12.8%, Germany 12%, Sweden 10%, Lithuania 9.1%, Estonia 8%, Russia 6.4%, Denmark 5.4% (2004)
Fiscal year calendar year
Flag description three horizontal bands of maroon (top), white (half-width), and maroon
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 4.4%

industry: 24.8%

services: 70.8% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $11,500 (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 7.6% (2004 est.)
Geographic coordinates 57 00 N, 25 00 E
Geography - note most of the country is composed of fertile, low-lying plains, with some hills in the east
Highways total: 60,472 km

paved: 57,206 km

unpaved: 3,265 km (2002)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: 2.9%

highest 10%: 25.9% (1998)
Illicit drugs 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; vulnerable to money laundering despite improved legislation due to nascent enforcement capabilities and comparatively weak regulation of offshore companies and the gaming industry; organized crime (including counterfeiting, corruption, extortion, stolen cars, and prostitution) accounts for most laundered proceeds
Imports 2.7 billion kWh (2002)
Imports $5.97 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports 1.7 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Imports NA
Imports - commodities machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, vehicles
Imports - partners Germany 13.9%, Lithuania 12.2%, Russia 8.7%, Estonia 7%, Finland 6.3%, Sweden 6.1%, Poland 5.4%, Belarus 4.8% (2004)
Independence 21 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
Industrial production growth rate 8.5% (2004 est.)
Industries 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
Infant mortality rate total: 9.55 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 11.55 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 7.45 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 6% (2004 est.)
International organization participation Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EU (new member), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, MIGA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WCO, WEU (member affiliate), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Irrigated land 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.)
Judicial branch Supreme Court (judges' appointments are confirmed by Parliament)
Labor force 1.17 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture 15%, industry 25%, services 60% (2000 est.)
Land boundaries total: 1,150 km

border countries: Belarus 141 km, Estonia 339 km, Lithuania 453 km, Russia 217 km
Land use arable land: 29.67%

permanent crops: 0.47%

other: 69.86% (2001)
Languages Latvian (official) 58.2%, Russian 37.5%, Lithuanian and other 4.3% (2000 census)
Legal system based on civil law system
Legislative branch unicameral Parliament or Saeima (100 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)

elections: last held 5 October 2002 (next to be held NA October 2006)

election results: percent of vote by party - JL 23.9%, PCTVL 18.9%, TP 16.7%, ZZS 9.5%, First Party 7.6%, LNNK 5.4%; seats by party - JL 26, PCTVL 24, TP 21, ZZS 12, First Party 10, LNNK 7
Life expectancy at birth total population: 71.05 years

male: 65.78 years

female: 76.6 years (2005 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.8%

male: 99.8%

female: 99.8% (2003 est.)
Location Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania
Map references Europe
Maritime claims territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Merchant marine total: 19 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 53,153 GRT/37,414 DWT

by type: cargo 7, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 5, roll on/roll off 1

registered in other countries: 86 (2005)
Military branches Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force, Border Guard, Home Guard (Zemessardze)
Military expenditures - dollar figure $87 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 1.2% (FY01)
National holiday Independence Day, 18 November (1918); note - 18 November 1918 is the date Latvia declared itself independent from Soviet Russia; 4 May 1990 is when it declared the renewal of independence; 21 August 1991 is the date of de facto independence from the Soviet Union
Nationality noun: Latvian(s)

adjective: Latvian
Natural hazards NA
Natural resources peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, wood, arable land
Net migration rate -2.24 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Pipelines gas 1,097 km; oil 409 km; refined products 415 km (2004)
Political parties and leaders First Party of Latvia or LPP [Juris LUJANS]; For Human Rights in a United Latvia or PCTVL [Tatjana ZDANOKA, Jakovs PLINERS]; For the Fatherland and Freedom/Latvian National Independence Movement or TB/LNNK [Janis STRAUME]; Harmony Center or SC [Sergejs DOLGOPOLOVS]; Latvian Green Party or LZP [Indulis EMSIS, Viesturs SILENIEKS, Raimonds VEJONIS]; Latvian Farmer's Union or LZS [Augusts BRIGMANIS]; Latvian Social Democratic Workers Party (Social Democrats) or LSDSP [Juris BOJARS]; Latvian Socialist Party or LSP [Alfreds RUBIKS]; Latvia's Way or LC [Ivars GODMANIS]; New Democrats or JD [Maris GULBIS]; New Era Party or JL [Einars REPSE]; People's Harmony Party or TSP [Aivars DATAVS]; People's Party or TP [Atis SLAKTERIS]; Social Democratic Union or SDS [Egils BALDZENS]
Political pressure groups and leaders Headquarters for the Protection of Russian Schools (SHTAB) [Aleksandr KAZAKOV]
Population 2,290,237 (July 2005 est.)
Population below poverty line NA
Population growth rate -0.69% (2005 est.)
Ports and harbors Riga, Ventspils
Radio broadcast stations AM 8, FM 56, shortwave 1 (1998)
Railways total: 2,303 km

broad gauge: 2,270 km 1.520-m gauge (257 km electrified)

narrow gauge: 33 km 0.750-m gauge (2004)
Religions Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox
Sex ratio at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

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

total population: 0.86 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal for Latvian citizens
Telephone system 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: country code - 371; international connections are now available via cable and a satellite earth station at Riga, enabling direct connections for most calls (1998)
Telephones - main lines in use 653,900 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular 1,219,600 (2003)
Television broadcast stations 44 (plus 31 repeaters) (1995)
Terrain low plain
Total fertility rate 1.26 children born/woman (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate 8.8% (2004 est.)
Waterways 300 km (2004)
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