Commission of Strategic Analysis Demographic Working Team
In 2004 the Strategic Analysis Commission (SAC) under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Latvia was established. Its aim is to investigate present and furure problems which are important for the Latvian society, organize a country-wide discussion of the state development tendencies and give proposals for different policy programmes. The Demographical Research Group under the leadership of professor P.Zvidriņš takes part in the work of this Commission. The main scientific research directions of this group are the follows:
Depopulation and the possibilities of its prevention
The key objective of the project is to investigate the main reasons and factors which cause depopulation as well as to work out some depopulation decrease proposals and preventive measures and suggestions to lessen its negative consequences. The regional and ethnical aspect of depopulation will be investigated and demographic forecasts in the state regions, districts and biggest towns will be made.
The main cause of depopulation and population ageing is a very low fertility. During the investigation the main factors which have given rise to a rapid fertility fall will be indicated and evaluated. The role of such factors as the population income classification, high unemployment and its negative consequences, the passive demographic policy, the family value decline, public attitude and other factors which lead to a low fertility will be investigated in details. In cooperation with the Demographic and Family Matters Council some suggestions concerning the fertility improvement in the country could be given and the possible demographical dynamics in the future evaluated.
Depopulation to a certain extent is influenced by a high population mortality and low average life expectancy. Provisions are made to investigate and evaluate the main reasons which cause a high mortality (circulatory system diseases, neoplasms, external causes of mortality, diseases of the digestive and the respiatory system, infectious diseases and others), to find out the risk factors which cause morbidity and mortality and to work out suggestions to reduce them, in particular those connected with accidents. Special attention will be given to the most common mortality cause, that is the research of the diseases of the circulatory system.
As morbidity and mortality of working age men in Latvia in comparison with other EU countries is extremely high, the male life quality will be studied and the factors which have led to this situation ( male health, lifestyle, role in the family and child care, safety factors, risky behaviour) will be clarified.
As the result the project will provide the data regarding the depopulation size in regions, administrative territorial divisions and ethnical distribution in Latvia in 2001-2004.
The population migration and labour movement
The main aim of the project is to investigate the population immigration and emigration situation and tendencies. Immigration and emigration factors (normative, political, economic, socio-psychological) which determine the main tendencies will be identified in the present investigation..
In the process of democratic and open policy the public opinion is of great importance. Thus one of the project aims is to make clear the outlook of those politicians who influence public opinion directly or indirectly. The investigation is supposed to reveal the attitude of the political parties and mass media leaders towards immigration and emigration processes in Latvia.
Potential risk factors connected with immigration and emigration development will be introduced. The evaluation of such risk factors can be used both in the state formation and the foreign policy definition. According to the obtained development patterns the project authors will offer the policy makers short-term and long-term perfomance suggestions and recommendations.
The typical charasteristics of the migration balance in the state regions, districts and biggest towns will be estimated in this investigation. An experts questionary about the possible migration balance evaluation in the state regions is expected to be done and the results will be used in the further predictions.
The Strategic Analyses Commission published its first report ,,National Interests: in Search of Content in 2004. The report pays great attention to the demographical research (authors prof. J.Krūmiņš and prof. P.Zvidriņš). In November 2004 an international conference ,,Negotiating Futures States, Societies and the World was organized. One of the conference sessions was devoted to the depopulation questions (speakers A.Bērziņš, P.Eglīte, Z.Goša, I.Mežs, A.Putniņa, U.Ušackis, E.Vītoliņš, P.Zvidriņš).
In the future the investigation results are supposed to be summarized in special bulletins and the results of all the investigations will be presented at the next SAC conferences.