Latvia is one of the European countries with the highest rate of emigration.
If the capital Riga, is managing to be an attractive city where Latvians decide to move to, the problem of depopulation is particularly acute on southern and eastern regions of Zemgale and Latgale.
Latgale in particular is the most affected region by depopulation. Data paint a very worrying picture of the last 15 years. Since 2000 almost 30% of the inhabitant of the region have moved away and the majority of them have emigrated abroad.
As if this wasn’t enough Latvia has also to face a negative outcome from the population growth rate of -1.07% (2016)
The reasons that pushes Latvians to leave are mainly of economical nature. Compared to other European countries the average income is way less and this is even more relevant outside Riga. Young generations are normally highly educated and speak fluently English, German or Russian. The difficulty to find jobs according to their skill level and studies, pushes them to look abroad for their future, attracted also from higher paycheques.
Latvian government, aware of the problem, in the latest years, is trying to attract back its emigrated nationals, unfortunately without much success. European Union is also financing programs to create more working possibilities for Latvians and trying to give them the chance to remain in their country and do not emigrate.
The future of the country, as recently affirmed by a governmental document, is in relative danger if the population loss will continue, exposing the country to higher internal and external risks.
©Alessandro Rampazzo 2017