Since the beginning of the 1990s there has
been a social insurance system with, among other things,
child allowance, unemployment benefit and parental
allowance. But it still has major shortcomings and
government spending on social insurance was the lowest
in the EU by the mid-2010s.
Pensions are very low for most pensioners. After
tough political debate, in 2012, a decision was made to
raise the retirement age from 62 years by three months a
year (from 2014), to reach 65 in 2025.
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Latvia, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Almost one third of the residents live under scarce
circumstances and in various forms of exclusion.
Latvia's health level is low compared to other EU
countries. In addition, the life expectancy of the
residents is lower than the average in the Union and the
death rate is higher. Increased poverty has, among other
things, caused tuberculosis. The rapid spread of HIV has
Society's resources for health care are strained and
do not meet the needs. Wages in healthcare are low,
which leads to "gratitude gifts", or bribes, to doctors.
The private healthcare sector is growing rapidly, but
most people cannot afford treatment there.
Abortions, divorces and suicides are relatively
common. Alcoholism is widespread. Evaluations of the
OECD cooperation organization, which measures how well
the residents are comfortable with the living
conditions in different countries, have long pointed out
that the residents of Latvia are among the most
dissatisfied in the EU.
The Mafia's power has been broken, but there are
organized crimes dealing with human trafficking, drug
smuggling and money laundering.
Latvia is traditionally a hierarchical society.
People are respected because of age and position. But
people are aware of their rights, and through economic
and political crises, a deep dissatisfaction has emerged
with politicians and governments.
Historically, pre-emption or refreshment was the path
to social careers, but during Latvia's first period of
independence (1918 - 1940), a Latvian middle class was
created by officials and business people. During Soviet
times, the high positions of society went to members of
the Communist Party, mainly Russian immigrants. After
the second independence in 1991, education has become a
path to career, and young people have often taken over
from the elderly. But still, contacts mean at least as
much as merit. Some old networks from the Soviet era
have survived in politics and business, where even
oligarchs retained power. Corruption is a major problem
that affects who gets influence.
The family is at the heart of the social structure.
It still appears that three generations live in the same
apartment, much due to housing shortage and for
financial reasons. Parents sometimes provide for adult
children and are often themselves supported on older
days. Most families have only one or two children.
Divorce totals are high and the single mothers many.
Society is male dominated. Forced equality,
especially in working life, during the Soviet era
received a backlash in independent Latvia after 1991.
There is much discrimination against women
professionally and economically, and alcoholism among
men contributes to the abuse of women. However, several
popular women with a prominent role in politics have
contributed to a new outlook.
Latvian youth live as young people in Europe at
large. Those under 25 do not remember the Soviet era and
take the new open society for granted.
In Soviet times, homosexuality was forbidden, and
there is still a low tolerance in society. Partnerships
between people of the same sex are not allowed. Pride
parades in Riga have been subjected to brutal violence
several times, and the parade has been banned.
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
3 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected
0.4 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
98.6 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
92.1 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
5.8 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
US $ 874 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
16 percent (2018)
Presidential visit to Russia
President Valdis Zatlers becomes the first Baltic president in over 15 years
to make an official visit to Moscow. Zatler and his Russian colleague Dmitry
Medvedev agree to improve the strained relations between the two countries.
Dombrovskis forms a coalition between the Unity Alliance and the League of
the Greens and Peasants. The new government has 55 of Parliament's 100 seats.
Dombrovski wins the parliamentary election
Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovski's Unit Alliance wins by close to 32 percent
of the vote. In second place comes the Harmonic Center with just over 26
percent. The Green and Peasants' Union gets 20 percent and the National Alliance
close to 8 percent. (2/10)
Sky-high youth unemployment
Of Latvia's young people, 39 percent lack work, which is the second highest
level in the EU.
The economy is growing again
After a two-year reduction in GDP by a total of about 25 percent, the
economy returns to growth in the second quarter.
Record high unemployment
Official figures show that unemployment has risen to 22.5 percent.
The People's Party leaves the government
A conflict over the budgetary tightening leads to the People's Party leaving
the government. Prime Minister Dombrovskis loses his majority in parliament,
which, against the government's will, votes through a reduction in hotel VAT.
Unemployment is rising
Latvia registers an unemployment rate of 20 percent, the highest in the EU.