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indicator value unit
Population 1.9 mil.
Visitors per year 6.2 mil.
Renewable energy %

How’s Life?

Latvia has made rapid progress in adjusting its economy since the 2008 economic crisis, as illustrated by its successful entry to the euro area at the beginning of 2014. Latvia performs well in a limited number of well-being dimensions relative to other countries in the Better Life Index. Latvia outperforms the average in social connections. It underperforms average in income, health, safety and life satisfaction. These assessments are based on available selected data.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Latvia, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is USD 19 783 a year, less than the OECD average of USD 30 490 a year.

In terms of employment, about 72% of people aged 15 to 64 in Latvia have a paid job, above the OECD employment average of 66%. Some 73% of men are in paid work, compared with 70% of women. In Latvia, 2% of employees work very long hours in paid work, below the OECD average of 10%, with 2% of men working very long hours in paid work compared with 1% of women.

Good education and skills are important requisites for finding a job. In Latvia, 89% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education, higher than the OECD average of 79%. However, completion varies between men and women, as 86% of men have successfully completed high school compared with 93% of women. In terms of the quality of the education system, the average student scored 487 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is just below the OECD average of 488. On average in Latvia, girls outperformed boys by 11 points, well above the average OECD gap of 5 points.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Latvia is around 76 years, five years lower than the OECD average of 81 years. Life expectancy for women is 80 years, compared with 71 for men. The level of atmospheric PM2.5 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 12.7 micrograms per cubic meter, below the OECD average of 14 micrograms per cubic meter. In Latvia, 83% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, lower than the OECD average of 84%.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and moderate levels of civic participation in Latvia, where 92% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, more than the OECD average of 91%. Voter turnout, a measure of citizens' participation in the political process, was 55% during recent elections, lower than the OECD average of 69%.

When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, Latvians gave it a 6.2 grade on average, lower than the OECD average of 6.7.


For more information on estimates and years of reference, see FAQ section and BLI database.


OECD in Action

OECD Economic Surveys: Latvia

OECD’s periodic surveys of the Latvian economy. Each edition surveys the major challenges faced by the country, evaluates the short-term outlook, and makes specific policy recommendations. Special chapters take a more detailed look at specific challenges. Extensive statistical information is included in charts and graphs.

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Latvia in Detail