LATVIA – DEMOGRAPHY
According to Baltijas Bals, data from the latest population census conducted by the Central Statistics Office showed many unpleasant things. One of them is rapid ageing of population.
Latvians have known for a long time that the country is ageing, but the Central Statistical Office decided to compare the current figures with those of 1925. The contrast is striking. In that year the average age of Latvian population was 32 years. In 2021 it will be 43 years.
Another interesting thing is that last year the average age of men in Latvia was 6 years less than that of women, while in 1925 the difference was only 1.5 years. In 1925 half of Latvian men were under 27 years of age and half of women under 31, while in early 2021 about half of men were under 39 and half of women under 47.
No one knows
Since 2004, the share of population aged 65 years and older exceeds the share of children and teenagers under 14, which means that in the future there will be less working-age population and demographic pressure will increase.
Birth rate in Latvia is decreasing, and nobody knows how to increase it. At the beginning of 2021 there will be 253 children under 14 years and 329 people over 65 years for every 1000 persons in the age of 15-64 years, while in 1989 the ratio was 320 and 176.
In most (66.4%) of Latvia’s regions more than a fifth of the population is over 65 years of age. On average in Latvia at the beginning of last year 21% of population were over 65 years of age.
The trap of the good life
If anyone thinks that population ageing is only a Latvian problem, they are mistaken. The whole world is getting older. «The main trend for the global population is aging rather than rapid growth,» says a recently published study by Harvard University scientists commissioned by the International Monetary Fund.
The study says that fertility decreased in all countries of the world (!) between 1970 and 2020, while life expectancy increased. In 1913 it was 34 years, in 2022 it is 72. By 2050 the number of children under 15 and those over 65 will be equal. The life expectancy at that time will be 79 years, and the birth rate will drop from 2.75 children per woman to 2.15. The fertility rate in Latvia is currently 1.57 children per woman.
And if you compromise your principles?
So if it is any consolation, one has to admit that our country will solve its demographic problems at the same time as the rest of the world. In Europe the solution is migration, easily winning the global competition for young people at the expense of a higher standard of living. Africans and Orientals are willing to risk their lives to get to EU countries and then drag their relatives here.
We used to look at the process from a negative angle, but migration is the only thing that prevents Europe from falling into a demographic hole – no European country’s population reproduces itself naturally. Latvia is looking for some special way out and, of course, does not find it. Migration is not good for us, it is a scary thing. This is the opinion of ruling politicians and of the majority of the population. What is left? Slow extinction, while others, compromising the purity of the race, grow and develop.
By the way, there is demographic competition within Latvia as well, as the average age of Latvian residents varies greatly from region to region. Thus, in 2021 the youngest region of the country is the Marupe region, where the average age is 33.1 years.
The oldest regions are Kraslava and Strenčiai, where the average age of the population is 47.4 years. By the way, the average age in 70% of local governments is higher than the average in Latvia. And something tells us that the standard of living in these places is also worse.
Life expectancy in 2020 for Latvian men is 70.4 years, for women 79.5 years. In Lithuania the difference between the life expectancy of men and women is also approximately the same. In Estonia and Poland this difference exceeds eight years, while the EU average is 5.5 years.
Data source: bb.lv