Facts regarding society integration in Latvia

03.02.2016. 17:50

sabiedribas integracija eng istais
Society integration in Latvia

Latvia has a modern, tolerant, open,multilingual society which promotes equality and has traditions rooted in centuries old European culture. People of different ethnic, religious and sexual backgrounds living in Latvia all feel welcome.

  • Latvia’s Constitution guarantees fundamental rights and prohibits discrimination;
  • Latvia offers a unique education system, with state financed minority education programmes in seven languages (Estonian, Hebrew, Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian) and at least 60 % of subjects taught in Latvian or bilingually;
  • people in Latvia speak many different foreign languages – 95% at least one, 54% two, 13% three – figures that are far higher than the EU average, according to the Eurobarometer Survey 2012;
  • more than 94% of those belonging to national minorities can communicate in Latvian, according to a study, “Sense of Belonging to Latvia”, 2014;
  • about a third of marriages are those between people of different ethnic backgrounds;
  • Russians living in Latvia feel less discrimination than Russians living in other parts of the EU, according to the  EU Fundamental Rights Agency Survey “European Union Minorities and Discrimination” of 2009 (only 5% in Latvia compared to 27% in some other EU member states).
  • Overall, discrimination by ethnicity is totally rare in Latvia as recognised by 52% of respondents, compared to 37% of the EU average. In addition, 16% think that ethnic discrimination is non-existent in Latvia, while only 2% on average recognise this in the EU, according to the 2012 Eurobarometer survey;
  • Many Latvians of Russian ethnic background hold high political positions, and Latvia’s Parliament has elected members whose mother tongue is Lithuanian, Arabic, Russian and Ukrainian;
  • Diplomats of Russian, American, Polish, Armenian, Uzbek and other backgrounds serve in Latvia’s diplomatic service;
  • Since regaining independence in 1991, there have been no racially motivated killings or serious incidents in Latvia; 
  • Latvia’s Jewish population least sees anti-Semitism as a problem, according to the EU Fundamental Rights Agency Survey “Discrimination and hate crime against Jews in EU Member States” of 2013.
  • Latvia automatically grants citizenship to children born in Latvia to stateless or non-citizen parents. 96% of children residing in Latvia are citizens of Latvia.
  • Latvia encourages and welcomes people who apply for citizenship – it is a simple process in line with all European standards. 62% of Latvians of Russian ethnic background are citizens and 84% of all of Latvia’s inhabitants are citizens;
  • Latvia has the highest proportion (over 40%) of women in senior business positions amongst EU countries (“International Business Report”, 2014). In the world rankings, considering the proportion of women occupying middle and senior management positions, Latvia is in 7th place (International Labour Organization ”Women in Business and Management”, 2015);
  • A majority of graduate, post graduate, doctoral students and scientists in Latvia are women (UNESCO Institute for Statistics research “Women in Science”);
  • In terms of gender equality Latvia consistently ranks amongst the top 15 countries globally (World Economic Forum survey “The Global Gender Gap Report”).