At the beginning of the year, Latvia conducted a register-based census

Posted on 29. September 2021 16:32

Latvia conducted a census based entirely on register data on the first day of this year, and it can be considered as a complete success. In addition to various databases, a large amount of information from private companies was used to specify and compare information, for example, on housing. The first most important result of the census: last year, Latvia had the lowest population growth in a hundred years.

Similar to Estonia, Latvia started preparing for a register-based census immediately after the previous population census in 2011. First, they started improving the quality of the data in the databases. In Latvia, the emphasis was on digitalisation and communication between the various institutions and their databases. While in Estonia data usually flows along a secure X-road environment, Latvia had to create a new system, which was appropriately called the Social Statistics Data Warehouse.

For conducting the census, 34 different databases were used, which also included, for example, information from local governments on demolished and uninhabitable buildings, data from municipal enterprises on the distribution of district heating in the region and from more than 70 private enterprises on domestic water and sewerage. By comparing and analysing the data, detailed information on housing was obtained.

First most important results

As of January 1st, 2021, the population of Latvia is 1.89 million, which is 14,500 people less than the year before. The population of our southern neighbours essentially decreased by the population of the city of Cesis. In Estonia, this would mean about the number of residents in Maardu or Rakvere. In Latvia, population decrease has accelerated: last year by 0.76% (in Estonia, by 0.1%), a year before that by 0.64% and in 2018 by 0.59%. Compared to the 2011 census, the population of Latvia has decreased by 177,000 people.

Among other things, it turned out that 49% of adult men in Latvia are married, compared to only 41% of women. A more detailed analysis would explain whether this also has an impact on population growth or vice versa. In less than a year, we will find out what exciting details the Estonian census data will reveal.