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Latvia (2008)

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Latvia 2008 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: 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.)
Agriculture - products grain, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish
Airports 42 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways total: 21

2,438 to 3,047 m: 7

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 9 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 21

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 20 (2007)
Area total: 64,589 sq km

land: 63,589 sq km

water: 1,000 sq km
Area - comparative slightly larger than West Virginia
Background 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 30% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.
Birth rate 9.43 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Budget revenues: $8.975 billion

expenditures: $8.88 billion (2007 est.)
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
Climate maritime; wet, moderate winters
Coastline 498 km
Constitution 15 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
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 13.64 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Debt - external $29.85 billion (30 June 2007)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Charles LARSON Jr.

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 Andrejs PILDEGOVICS

chancery: 2306 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 328-2840

FAX: [1] (202) 328-2860
Disputes - international Russia 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 EU's external border, Latvia has implemented the strict Schengen border rules with Russia
Economic aid - recipient $162 million (2004)
Economy - overview Latvia's economy experienced GDP growth of more than 10% per year during 2006-07. 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 22% of GDP in 2007 - and inflation - at nearly 10% per year - remain major concerns.
Electricity - consumption 6.09 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports 707 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports 2.855 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production 4.778 billion kWh (2005)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m

highest point: Galzina Kalns 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 - 0.5162 (2007), 0.5597 (2006), 0.5647 (2005), 0.5402 (2004), 0.5715 (2003)
Executive branch chief of state: President Valdis ZATLERS (since 8 July 2007)

head of government: Prime Minister Ivars GODMANIS (since 20 December 2007)

cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and appointed by Parliament

elections: president elected by Parliament for a four-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 31 May 2007 (next to be held 2011); prime minister appointed by the president, confirmed by Parliament

election results: Valdis ZATLERS elected president; parliamentary vote - Valdis ZATLERS 58, Aivars ENDZINS 39
Exports 707 million kWh (2005)
Exports $7.551 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Exports 6,765 bbl/day (2004)
Exports - commodities wood and wood products, machinery and equipment, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
Exports - partners Lithuania 14.2%, Estonia 12.3%, Russia 11.5%, Germany 9.8%, UK 7.6%, Sweden 6.3%, Denmark 4.8% (2006)
Fiscal year calendar year
Flag description three horizontal bands of maroon (top), white (half-width), and maroon
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 3.5%

industry: 21.3%

services: 75.2% (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 10.3% (2007 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
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: 2.5%

highest 10%: 29.1% (2003)
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
Imports 2.855 billion kWh (2005)
Imports $13.7 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports 1.861 billion cu m (2005)
Imports 39,190 bbl/day (2004)
Imports - commodities machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, vehicles
Imports - partners Germany 15.5%, Lithuania 12.9%, Russia 8%, Estonia 7.7%, Poland 7.2%, Finland 5.7%, Sweden 5%, Belarus 4.7% (2006)
Independence 18 November 1918 (from Soviet Russia)
Industrial production growth rate 5.9% (2007 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: 9.16 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 11.08 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 7.13 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 9.6% (2007 est.)
International organization participation Australia 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, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate partner), 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 (2003)
Judicial branch Supreme Court (judges' appointments are confirmed by Parliament); Constitutional Court (judges' appointments are confirmed by Parliament)
Labor force 1.136 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture: 13%

industry: 19%

services: 68% (2005 est.)
Land boundaries total: 1,348 km

border countries: Belarus 141 km, Estonia 343 km, Lithuania 588 km, Russia 276 km
Land use arable land: 28.19%

permanent crops: 0.45%

other: 71.36% (2005)
Languages Latvian (official) 58.2%, Russian 37.5%, Lithuanian and other 4.3% (2000 census)
Legal system based on civil law system with traces of Socialist legal traditions and practices; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Legislative branch unicameral 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; note - seats by party as of February 2008 - TP 21, ZZS 17, SC 17, JL 14, LPP/LC 10, TB/LNNK 5, PCTVL 6, independents 10
Life expectancy at birth total population: 71.6 years

male: 66.39 years

female: 77.1 years (2007 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.7%

male: 99.8%

female: 99.7% (2000 census)
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: 22 ships (1000 GRT or over) 201,684 GRT/221,186 DWT

by type: cargo 9, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 5, roll on/roll off 2

foreign-owned: 1 (Estonia 1)

registered in other countries: 122 (Antigua and Barbuda 9, Belize 14, Cambodia 2, Cyprus 1, Dominica 2, Jamaica 2, Liberia 15, Malta 36, Marshall Islands 10, Panama 5, Russia 2, St Kitts and Nevis 4, St Vincent and The Grenadines 20) (2007)
Military branches Latvian Republic Defense Force: Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force (Latvijas Gaisa Spelki), Border Guard, Latvian Home Guard (Latvijas Zemessardze) (2007)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 1.2% (2005 est.)
National holiday Independence 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
Nationality noun: Latvian(s)

adjective: Latvian
Natural hazards NA
Natural resources peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, wood, arable land
Net migration rate -2.27 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Pipelines gas 948 km; oil 82 km; refined products 415 km (2007)
Political parties and leaders First Party of Latvia/Latvia's Way or LPP/LC [Ainars SLESERS, Ivars GODMANIS]; 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 Social Democratic Workers Party (Social Democrats) or LSDSP [Juris BOJARS]; Latvian Socialist Party or LSP [Alfreds RUBIKS]; New Democrats or JD [Maris GULBIS]; New Era Party or JL [Einars REPSE, Krisjanis KARINS]; People's Party or TP [Aigars KALVITIS]; The Union of Latvian Greens and Farmers Party or ZZS [Augusts BRIGMANIS]
Political pressure groups and leaders Headquarters for the Protection of Russian Schools (SHTAB) [Aleksandr KAZAKOV]
Population 2,259,810 (July 2007 est.)
Population below poverty line NA%
Population growth rate -0.648% (2007 est.)
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 (2006)
Religions Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox
Sex ratio at 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.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal for Latvian citizens
Telephone system general assessment: recent efforts focused on bringing competition to the telecommunications sector; the number of fixed lines is decreasing as wireless telephony 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 is roughly 125 per 100 persons

international: country code - 371; the Latvian network is now connected via fiber optic cable to Estonia, Finland, and Sweden
Telephones - main lines in use 657,400 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular 2.184 million (2006)
Television broadcast stations 44 (plus 31 repeaters) (1995)
Terrain low plain
Total fertility rate 1.28 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate 5.9% (2007 est.)
Waterways 300 km (2006)
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