Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Latvian population declines

According to Delfi Latvian population is shrinking. While keeping in mind ceteris paribus negative demographic situation, there were 3541 people who settled and 4183 who permanently left Latvia in 2007. Thus, the total population declined overall by 10 400 people and stands now at 2 271 000.

Also, during last three years out of the 2 271 000 people 27 805 thousand live and work officially in Ireland reports Diena. According to official census in Ireland in 2006 there were 13 999 official persons who named their place of descent Latvija. At this very moment it is too early to say whether those 27 805 people could be automatically subtracted from 2 million and something Latvian citizens. Also, Irish Latvian community is the most advertised one, at least in the Latvian media. But there are plenty of Latvian citizens who work officially also in the UK, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Russia, the US and other places. And never mind the number of unofficially working ones about whom nobody really knows exact data. Some folks reckon that up to 72 000 now work semi-officially in the UK and Ireland together.


Elizabete said...

Tangentially related to your post: do you know whether those citizens working abroad will be counted in LV’s 2010 census among the vote-eligibles? Or will they simply disappear from the population figures? This could have enormous implications for any future referendums. Right now, any initiative that requires half the electorate’s endorsement (for example, one of the current ones, which would allow voters to dismiss Saeima) has an especially high bar to pass. If – as many believe - 100.000+ voters are working abroad and, judging from the results of the 9. Saeima’s election, the majority isn’t politically active, then any referendum on this scale is handicapped before it ever gets off the ground. However, if after 2010 the population/electorate numbers more closely reflect reality, politically a different context gets established.

mel said...

One thing -- Latvian election laws state that citizens living outside its borders can vote, and it counts in the Riga constituency (doesn't matter if you came from Vidzeme, etc).

But this counts only those who "officially" registered, whatever that means. I really do suspect, Veik, that the number is closer to 100,000 in Ireland and the UK (the great majority being the former).

Also, do these numbers count the number of non-citizens that have made their way to Finland or elsewhere also?

Just looking at anecdotal evidence, I believe this number is more of a "face-saving" measure not to embarrass the government -- for the sheer amount of frustrated people who have quit Latvia for greener pastures, such as on the Bosphorus!


Baltic said...


LAT citizens who reside outside Latvia are vote-eligibles by law, as Mel quite correctly pointed out. It means that all LAT passport holders who live from Kalamazoo Michigan all the way to Melbourne Australia are allowed to vote.

It actually means that LAT politicians will HAVE to emply the same tactics as Donald Tusk from Civic Platform in Poland, when he toured England prior Polish elections last year.

"New Democrat" Maris Gulbis tried to do it actually in September 2006 in Dublin and surrounding areas, but his name is too tainted, thus there was no success.

Actually, this is now the task for liberal forces popping up (kalniete civic union & stokenbergs another politics), to go and convince that Irish and UK votes are essential for turning the tide in upcoming local&Strassbourg MEP, or (Insallah: or God's giving in Arabic) snap elections.

Baltic said...

Mel hi,

You must officially register for participation in election that's true. But probable electors will not register themselves if there will not be smth. tangible for them offered.

Right now, even if Irish and UK lettish Gastarbeiters would be arrive home, they would have to pay into Latvian state treasury 5% income tax, because Latvia have it still at 25% while in Ireland its only 20%.

Thats another reason among many others WHY IS THERE NEED FOR OVERHAUL OF THE TAX CODE:)