The total area of Latvia occupies 64.6 thousand km2, of which 96 % is taken by dry land and 4 % by inland waters. The country has a dry land border of 1 387 km and a sea border of 513 km with Estonia, Russia, Belarus and Lithuania.
The country has 119 administrative territories – 9 cities and 110 municipalities.
There are 76 cities and towns in Latvia, nine of which have official city status: Riga (the capital and the largest city) Daugavpils, Jēkabpils, Jelgava, Jūrmala, Liepāja, Rēzekne, Valmiera and Ventspils.
In 2019, GDP at current prices comprised EUR 30.5 billion, while at constant prices of 2015 – EUR 27.5 billion. The economy's growth rate amounted to 2.2 % compared to the previous year.
Population and population change
The population at the beginning of the year 2018 was 1,934,379. The population of Latvia keeps declining. Since the beginning of 2010, it has dropped by 200 thousand people, provisionally reaching 1 million 908 thousand at the beginning of 2020. During 2019, the population was reduced by 0.6 % (by 0.7 % over 2018). In 1959, the urban population of Latvia constituted 51.7 % and exceeded the rural population for the first time. The urban population kept prevailing over the rural one, and in 2019 it already constituted 68.5 %, of which approximately one-third of the total population or almost half of the urban population (633 thousand people) lived in Riga.
2.85 million visitors stayed at Latvian tourist accommodation establishments in 2019, 1.6 % more than in 2018. Compared to the previous year, the number of nights spent by visitors increased by 2.6 %, reaching 5.51 million. The average length of stay comprised 1.9 nights. In 2019, 1.95 million foreign visitors were hosted, which is 1.1 % more than in the previous year, whereas the number of nights spent by them increased by 2.9 %, reaching 3.85 million. Out of all foreign visitors, the majority (75 %) stayed in Riga, 8.9 % in Jūrmala, 2 % in Liepāja, 1.9 % in Sigulda county, 1.5% in Daugavpils and 1.4 % in Ventspils.
In 2019, the number of passengers who arrived at and departed from the Riga International Airport was close to 8 million. In 2019, 7.8 million passengers arrived and departed from the Riga International Airport, which is 10.5 % more than in 2018. The largest passenger turnover at the Riga International Airport was with German airports – 1.0 million passengers or an increase of 5.9 %, Russian airports – 0.9 million passengers or a rise of 18.4 % and British airports – 0.8 million passengers or a drop of 0.3 %. Riga International Airport received and shipped 27.2 thousand tonnes of cargo, which was 3.6 % more than in 2018.
Turnover of foreign trade in goods
In 2019, the foreign trade turnover of Latvia at current prices comprised EUR 28 543.5 million – EUR 22.8 million or 0.1 % less than in 2018. In 2019, export volume increased, but import volume – slightly decreased. The export value constituted EUR 12 794.4 million (a growth of EUR 21 million or 0.2 %), whereas the imports value comprised EUR 15.749.1 million (a drop of EUR 43.7 million or 0.3 %).
Main trade partners in exports and imports
In 2019, exports to countries of the European Union accounted for EUR 9 255.6 million or 72.3 % of the total export value (an increase of 1.8 %). In contrast, exports to CIS countries comprised EUR 1 700 million or 13.3 % (a rise of 5.3 %). Exports to other countries amounted to EUR 1 838.8 million or 14.4 % (a drop of 11.2 %). The main export partners were Lithuania (17.2 % of total exports ), Estonia (11.7 %), Russia (9.2 %), Germany (7.2 %) and Sweden (6.6 %).
In 2019, imports from countries of the European Union in total imports of Latvia accounted for EUR 12 078.7 million or 76.7 % (an increase of 3.5 %). Still, imports from CIS countries comprised EUR 1 618 million or 10.3 % (a drop of 11.5 %). Imports from other countries comprised EUR 2 052.4 million or 13.0 % (a decrease of 10.4 %). The main import partners were Lithuania (17.8 % of total imports), Germany (10.9 %), Poland (9.1 %), Estonia (8.5 %) and Russia (6.9 %).
2019 is the warmest year since meteorological observations are made in Latvia. With the mean air temperature reaching +8.2 °C, 2019 has become the warmest year in the history of meteorological observations of Latvia (made since 1924). Over the year, several records of maximum air temperature were beaten. Mean air temperature in the coldest month of the year – January – constituted +0.8 °C, while in the hottest month – June – it comprised +18.6 °C. The total precipitation recorded in 2019 was slightly below normal.
Forest is one of the key natural resources of Latvia. Forests occupy 48 % of the territory of Latvia. Every year forest area and resources thereof keep increasing. On 1 January 2019, the forest land of Latvia constituted 3 285 thousand ha, of which 46.2 % are owned by the state and 53.8 % by private owners. The largest share (45 %) of the state forests is occupied by coniferous trees. Of the area, 26.3 % is taken by pine and 18.7 % by spruce. The rest of the forest land is occupied by deciduous trees, which are dominated by birch (27.5 %), asp (8.2 %) and black alder (6.0 %). Small areas are taken by white alder and other deciduous trees. Wild animals are an integral natural resource in Latvia as well. Roe deer is Latvia's most common wild animal (184 thousand), whereas beavers are the most often hunted (29.5 thousand out of 59.0 thousand).
The brochure below contains tables and graphs depicting information on Latvia's social and economic situation. The data are based on provisional statistical information and cover 2019 compared to the previous years.