Latvia is in Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania. The climate is maritime with wet, moderate winters. The official language is Latvian. Latvian and Russian are the main languages, while Russian and English are most commonly used in international business meetings. Some younger-generation Latvians, particularly in Riga, speak excellent English. German and French are also spoken. Visitors should be sensitive about using Russian and German, which can offend people because of memories of Latvia's occupation by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Use English first before venturing other languages. The main religion is Christianity. The economy of Latvia was until the middle of 2008 the fastest growing economy in Europe. It has had high GDP growth since 2000. In 2003, GDP growth was 7.5% and inflation was 2.9%. Unemployment was 8.8% in 2003, almost unchanged compared to the previous two years. Privatization is mostly complete, except for some of the large state-owned utilities. In May 2004, Latvia joined the European Union. Latvians are generally somewhat reserved, but hospitable. Expatriate business dress is conservative, comprising suits. Businesswomen are expected to dress conservatively. The security risk for expatriates in Latvia is low. Risks include low levels of petty crime and car theft. Other risks include harassment, particularly of people belonging to visible ethnic and religious minority groups. The currency of Latvia is the Euro (EUR). All major credit cards are accepted and there are plenty of ATMs. Medical facilities are good, however the cost of treatment for expatriates from outside the EU can be high. The population of Latvia is 2.1 Million (2017 est.), while the inflation rate is 2.7% (Nov 2017).
Cost Of Living
The cost of living for expatriates / professional migrants in In Latvia, the cost of each basket, based on local prices, compared to the international average, is categorized follows (Exact cost of living percentages only available in personalised reports): Latvia as at 1 January 2018 is very low in comparison to other places in the world. 1) Alcohol (where available) & Tobacco: Low 2) Clothing: Average 3) Communication: High 4) Education: High 5) Furniture & Appliances: Very High 6) Groceries: Very Low 7) Healthcare: Very Low 8) Household Accommodation: Very Low 9) Miscellaneous: Average 10) Personal Care: Very Low 11) Recreation & Culture: Very High 12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: Low 13) Transport: Low Latvia is for example -30.8% cheaper than USA for groceries, -53% cheaper for household costs than UK, and 69.2% more expensive for transport costs than India. The hardship premium for Latvia for an expat from Australia, is for example 20%, i.e. host location (Latvia) premium of 30% minus home (Australia) location premium of 10%. Latvia is ranked as a high degree of hardship location. Want to know more about cost of living, hardship (quality of living) or expat salary in Latvia? Register subscribe to your home location and Latvia and run your personalised reports.