Latvia Religion

Catholics and Protestants dominate the Latvians, while the Russian-speaking minority belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church. There are a few thousand Jews in Latvia, most in Riga.

The Baltic people were among the last in Europe to be Christianized. In the ancient Baltics, the way of Zemé (Mother Earth) was worshiped as a divine being from which all living originated.

In the 13th century, Latvia was militarily subdued by the Swordsmen’s Order and the German Order’s Crusaders, and the area was formally Christian. In reality, pagan beliefs and customs remained in the depths of the people for centuries.

In 1521, Riga was reached by the Reformation, when the Catholic Church was divided and Protestant churches emerged. In the early 1600s, Lutheran doctrine became dominant in the parts that came to be ruled by Sweden (1629–1721), while the Latgale (Lettgallen) region in the east remained Catholic under Poland. Russian rule from the beginning of the 18th century meant that Orthodox doctrine also spread in Latvia. The Orthodox Church grew significantly through Soviet immigration of ethnic Russians.

The religious communities were oppressed in Soviet times. After independence, religious freedom has been re-established, the churches have become independent and many of them have regained their property. In 2016, Latvia’s Jews had not been compensated for more than a fraction of the property lost during the Nazi and Soviet occupations.

The Latvian Lutheran Church differs from most other Lutheran churches by not allowing female priests.

Latvia Population Pyramid 2020

  • Countryaah: Population statistics for 2020 and next 30 years in Latvia, covering demographics, population graphs, and official data for growth rates, population density, and death rates.



Children of “non-citizens” should receive automatic citizenship

October 17

Children of, among others, Russians who do not have citizenship in Latvia but have the right to live in the country should be able to become citizens under new law. Many non-Letters from former states of the former Soviet Union remained in Latvia after the fall of the Soviet Empire in 1991 without becoming Latvian nationals. Today there are around 230,000 so-called non-citizens in Latvia. From 2020, newborn children where one parent or both are “non-citizens” will automatically receive a Latvian passport.


Parliament elects new president

May 29th

Egils Levits as new president after Raimonds Vējonis who did not run for another term. Egils Levits has worked as a judge at the European Court of Justice since 2004. Levits receives 61 votes in Saeima, which is good enough for him to be elected already in the first round. The other two candidates are Didzis Šmits from the populist party KPV LV and the human rights ombudsman Juris Jansons. Levits will take over as President on July 8.

Five parties are given seats in the European Parliament

May 26

Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš party New unit will be the largest party in the EU elections with just over 26 percent of the vote and two seats. However, the result for New Unity is considerably worse than in the election four years ago when the party received more than 46 percent of the vote. Harmony gets about 17 percent of the vote, while the right-wing Nationalist Alliance lands on 16 percent. Both parties receive two seats each in the European Parliament.


Russian TV channel receives broadcasting ban

January 31

Latvia’s electronic media council faces a three-month ban on showing broadcasts from the Moscow-based TV channel Rossiya RTR for content providers in the country. According to the Council, the Rossiya RTR is a propaganda channel that, in its broadcasts, has allowed hate propaganda against Ukrainians and Ukraine, voiced by, among others, the Russian ultranationalist and the Vice-President of the Russian Duma, Vladimir Zhirinovski.

New center-right government formed

January 23

After over three months, a new government is finally formed. It has not been so long since Latvia became independent again in 1991. The government is supported by 61 members of Parliament while 39 vote against. The government is a center-right coalition, like the previous governments that have ruled the country since the 1990s. In addition to Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš’s own party group New unit also includes New Conservative Party, National Alliance, For Development / For and parts of KPV LV. However, five MPs from KPV LV choose to vote against. Finance Minister Jānis Reirs and Foreign Minister Edgar Rinkēvičs both come from New Device. The new Conservative Party has four ministerial posts, including that of Minister of Justice and Deputy Prime Minister. For development / For, the Minister of Environment and Health receives the posts, while the National Alliance, among other things, gets responsibility for the cultural and agricultural issues.

Third attempt to form government

7 th of January

After both Jānis Bordāns of the New Conservative Party and Aldis Gobzems of populist KPV LV failed to form a government coalition that could be supported by a majority in Parliament after the October 2018 election, Krišjānis Kariņš was elected prime ministerial candidate by President Raimonds V ē ionis. Kariņš has previously been Minister of Finance and is also an American citizen. He represents New Unity in Parliament, which is the smallest party group with eight seats. Kariņš is reportedly supported by several of the other major parties, including the New Conservative Party and the National Alliance.

Latvia Religion