Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. Riga is a major industrial, commercial, cultural and financial centre of the Baltics, and an important seaport. 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 Riga is 1 Million (2016 est.), while the inflation rate is 2.6% (July 2017).
Cost Of Living
The cost of living for expatriates / professional migrants in In Riga, 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): Riga as at 1 July 2017 is very low in comparison to other places in the world. 1) Alcohol (where available) & Tobacco: Low 2) Clothing: High 3) Communication: High 4) Education: Average 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: Average 13) Transport: Low Riga is for example -14.3% cheaper than Houston TX for groceries, -29.7% cheaper for household costs than Kuala Lumpur, and 0.8% more expensive for transport costs than Dubai. The hardship premium for Riga for an expat from Perth, is for example 20%, i.e. host location (Riga) premium of 30% minus home (Perth) location premium of 10%. Riga 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 Riga? Register subscribe to your home location and Riga and run your personalised reports.