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Countries of the World: Latvia
Resources about Latvia including maps, facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, and economy.

Economy of Latvia GDP (2009 nominal): $26.383 billion. Annual growth rate (2009): -18.0%. Annual inflation rate (2009): 3.3%. Unemployment rate (2009): 17.1%. Per capita income (2008, PPP): $17,105. Natural resources: Peat, limestone, dolomite, gypsum, timber. Agriculture, hunting, and fishing (2.8% of 2009 GDP): Products--cattle, dairy foods, cereals, potatoes, timber. Land--1.83 million hectares, of which 63% is arable, 35% meadow and pasture, and 1% orchards. Industry, including energy (12.3% of 2009 GDP): Types-- metalworking, machinery and tools, light electrical equipment and fittings, textiles and footwear, technological instruments, construction materials, processed foods. Services (69% of 2009 GDP): Types--retail and wholesale trade; real estate, renting, and business activities; transport, storage, and communication. Major sectors of the economy (2009): Retail and wholesale trade (13.8% of 2009 GDP); real estate, renting, and business activities (18% of 2009 GDP); manufacturing (8.7% of 2009 GDP); transport, storage, and communication (10.3% of 2009 GDP); construction (5.8% of 2009 GDP); financial intermediation (6.1% of 2009 GDP). Trade (2008): Exports--$9.423 billion: base metals and articles of base metal 16.7%; wood and articles of wood 16.6%; machinery and mechanical appliances; electrical equipment 12.5%; products of the chemical or allied industries 8.4%; prepared foodstuffs; beverages, spirits and vinegar; tobacco 7.9%; textiles and textile articles 5.5%, vegetable products 5.1%. Major markets--Lithuania 16.7%, Estonia 14%, Russia 10%, Germany 8.1%, Sweden 6.6%, Denmark 4.6%. Imports--$16.015 billion: machinery and mechanical appliances; electrical equipment 18.3%; mineral products 15.6%; vehicles, aircraft, vessels and associated transport equipment 10.7%; base metals and articles of base metal 10.3%; products of the chemical or allied industries 9.7%; prepared foodstuffs; beverages, spirits and vinegar; tobacco 6.8%; plastics and articles thereof; rubber and articles thereof 4.7%; textiles and textile articles 4.0%. Partners-- Lithuania 16.5%, Germany 13%, Russia 10.6%, Poland 7.2%, Estonia 7.1%, Sweden 4.4%, Finland 4.4%.

Geography of Latvia Area: 64,589 sq. km. (24,938 sq. mi.); slightly larger than West Virginia. Cities (2009): Capital--Riga (713,016). Other cities-- Daugavpils (104,857); Liepaja (84,747); Jelgava (65,419); Jurmala (55,870); Ventspils (42,963); Rezekne (35,526). Terrain: Fertile low-lying plains predominate in central Latvia, highlands in Vidzeme and Latgale to the east, and hilly moraine in the western Kurzeme region. Forests cover one-third of the country, with over 3,000 small lakes and numerous bogs. Although there are more than 12,000 rivers in the country, the only major waterways are the Daugava (Dvina) River, which flows through the center of the country and empties into the Gulf of Rga, and the Gauja River, which rises in the Vidzeme Upland. Land use: 45.7% forest and woodland, 18.2% arable land, 10.2% meadows and pastures, 22.3% other. Climate: Temperate, maritime, with four seasons of almost equal length. Average temperatures in January range from - 3C (26.6F) in the western, coastal town of Liepaja, to - 6.7C (19.9F) in the inland town of Daugavpils. Mean temperatures for July range from 16.4C (61.52F) in Liepaja to 17.0C (62.6F) in Daugavpils. Annual precipitation averages 57 centimeters (23 in.).

Government of Latvia Type: Parliamentary democracy. Constitution: The law "On the Republic of Latvia Status as a State," passed by Parliament on August 21, 1991, provided for the reinstatement of the 1922 constitution. Branches: Executive--President (head of state), elected by Parliament every 4 years; Prime Minister (head of government). Legislative--Saeima (100-member parliament). Judicial--Supreme Court; Constitutional Court; civil law system. Administrative regions: 109 districts and 9 cities. Principal political parties: People's Party--17 seats, Alliance of Political Organizations (Harmony Center)--18 seats, Greens and Farmers--17 seats, New Era--15 Seats, Latvia's First Party and Latvia's Way Union--10 seats, Civic Union--7 seats, Fatherland and Freedom--5 seats, For Human Rights in United Latvia--5 seats, independent--6 seats. Suffrage: universal adult (18 years of age).

Map of Latvia This Map of Latvia shows the borders of the country, as well as rivers, and cities including Riga the capital of Latvia. (Maps from the U.S. State Department)

Official Name of Latvia The Official Name of Latvia is the Republic of Latvia. (Facts from the U.S. State Department)

People of Latvia Nationality: Noun and adjective--Latvian(s). Population (2010): 2,248,000 Annual population growth rate (2009): 0.57%. Birth rate-- 9.6/1,000. Death rate--13.3/1,000. Migration rate (2009)-- 2,688 immigrants; 7,388 emigrants. Density (2008): 35.2/1 sq. km (this figure is far lower in the rural parts of Latvia). Urban dwellers--67.9%. Major ethnic groups (2008): Latvians 59.2%, Russians 28.0%, Belarusians 3.7%, Ukrainians 2.5%, Poles 2.4%. Religions (2003): Lutheran (23.8%), Roman Catholic (18.4%), Russian Orthodox (15.0%). State language: Latvian. Russian also is spoken by most people. Education: Years compulsory--9. Enrollment (2009/2010)-- 174,177 students in 1,548 schools (including pre-school establishments and vocational education institutions) and 112,555 university students. Literacy--99.8%. Health: Infant mortality rate--7.8/1,000 (2009). Life expectancy (2009)--68.3 yrs. male, 78.1 yrs. female. Work force (2009, 1.153 million): Industry--15.6%; trade-- 19.6%; construction--7.7%; agriculture/forestry--9.0%; transport/communications--9.9%; public administration/defense--7.9%; education--8.9%; health care/social welfare--5.4%.

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