Latvia is one of the Baltic States and often seen as a gateway to more eastern markets such as Russia. The population of Latvia is 2.2 million, of which 0.7 million live in the capital, Riga. The population is expected to fall to 2 million by 2030, with the proportion of people over 65 increasing from 25% to 36% over the same period. 60% of the population are Latvian, with a further 30% ethnic Russians. The official currency is the Lat, worth approximately €1.42. The standard rate of VAT is 22%.

 Latvia                               Capital: Riga



2.2 million à 2 million (2030)

Proportion of people over 65 is 25% à 36% (2030)


60% Latvian, 30% ethnic Russian


Lutheran & Catholic

GDP / head

€ 9,700   (EU average: € 25,100)


Lat (€1.42)



GDP growth (volume)



2.1% in 2012 (f)

0.4% in 2013 (f)

Unemployment rate

(Dec 2011)

14.6%   (EU average: 10.0%)

Inflation rate

4.2%   (EU average: 3.1%)


Figures relate to 2011, except where indicated.                                      Source: Eurostat, Searce (2012)










Latvia has a GDP per capita of €8,000, compared to the EU average of €24,400 in 2010. According to the European Bank of Reconstruction & Development, the Latvian economy grew by 5% in 2011, and is expected to grow by 2.6% in 2012 (compared to the Eurozone average growth of 1.6% and 0.2% respectively). The inflation rate was 3.9% in 2011, compared to 3% in the EU. The unemployment rate was 14.8%, compared to 9.8% in the EU as a whole in 2011.

Latvians are renowned for their singing, although they are more reserved in business settings. Older people are expected to make key decisions, so it is usually advisable to make contact with people at the top of the organisation you wish to speak with. Formality and use of titles are still important.