Centre of Demography
University of Latvia

At the beginning of the 21st century three scientific programmes on population were worked out by the Centre of Demography.

Changes of demographic structures in Latvia at the turn of the 20 th and 21st century and consequences caused by them


 The objective of the project was to investigate the dynamics of demographic structures and consequences of these changes complexly and in detail. In 2003 the researchers finished the project, i.e., investigated different demographic structures in Latvia using data of the last (2000) census and other sources. A special attention was paid to the investigation of gender, employment, education, family and ethnic structures.  The main results of the project have beeen used as the basis for the population projections, including projections of demographic structures.

Differentation of population ageing and prolongation of length of active life


 The purpose of the cooperation project is to investigate the level of Latvian population ageing, dynamics and differentation in different population socio-demographic groups and major administrative territorial units as well as determine the factors affecting population ageing. The research was carried out within the cooperation project of the Latvian Council of Science ‘’Biomedical and social aspects of population ageing’’.

The ageing process is mostly due to the very low fertility rate (total fertility rate in 2000-2004 1.2). In 1979 and 1989 the mean age of population was 36.3 years but now it has reached almost 40 years. During the last decade the ageing process is more rapid among non-Latvians.

Population major ageing indicators were analysed in comparison with other EU countries. Latvia is characterized by a high level of women ageing and the biggest gap between women and men ageing indicators. The mean age is higher in urban areas than in rural areas Special attention is devoted to the analysis of population ageing in different regions and urban territories as well as ageing trends of working population. On average the oldest population live in Latgale region and major towns but the biggest increase of population mean age during the last 15 years can be observed in major cities (especially in Riga) and Riga region. Urban population ageing process is more rapid due to low fertility rate and on the whole urban population is older than rural population. The findings of the research have been used for population projections.

The perfomance of the theme is being continued.

 Latvian demographic development projections


 The purpose of investigating the theme is to work out projections of population size, composition and demographic processes and analyse the findings of the projections. In 2004 demographers of the University of Latvia in cooperation with CSB and Eurostat introduced a new approach in the calculation cycle of national population projections in Latvia. The basic data was collected and prepared for calculation and hypotheses proposed for the anticipated changes in population natural and migration movements in the future perspective. Calculations were made up to 2050 and contained 4 variants: basic, optimistic, pessimistic and zero-migration. The basic variant envisages moderate fertility increase, first negative but later positive net migration indicators, especially after 2025.

Projections’ calculations show that population decrease in Latvia will continue. The basic variant envisages the decrease up to 2.1 million in 2025 and 1.9 million in 2050. Unfavourable changes can be anticipated in the population age structure. The mean age will rapidly increase (from 40 years at present to 45 years in the mid-century). Low fertility rate will cause further increase in the proportion of older population and drop in the proportion of children and working population. After 2010 a rapid decrease in the proportion of younger working population is projected. Demographic burden will increase continuously on the account of older population. Planning the development of national economy this situation should be taken into account. To alleviate the impact of the existing critical situation it is necessary to carry out a very active demographic policy.

In 2005-2006 working on the theme is being continued. 


19 Raina Boulv.
LV-1586, Riga

Phone: (371) 7 034 787
Fax: (371) 7 034 787
E-mail: zvidrins@lanet.lv
Contact: Prof. Peteris Zvidrins