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 1.1 Million (Metro) (2019 est.), while the inflation rate (CPI) is 2.3% for Latvia as at October 2019. Xpatulator Hypothetical Tax for Latvia is based on the current personal income tax rates which are progressive up to 31.4%.
Cost Of Living
The cost of living for expatriates / professional migrants in We have collected prices for the same items, world wide, based on Expat spending norms, in or closest to the location, and converted them to $USD so that we can compare the cost of 13 different baskets in 780 global locations. For each basket, compared to New York, the equivalent cost in Riga is as follows: Riga as at 1 November 2019 is low in comparison to other places in the world. 1) Alcohol and/or Tobacco: for items such as beer, spirits, wine and tobacco related products such as cigarettes. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$640. Average price in a store for a midrange bottle of wine is USD$6.61, domestic/local beer (500ml) USD$1.11, imported/international beer (330ml) USD$1.32 and a pack of 20 cigarettes is USD$4.19. 2) Clothing: for items such as business, casual and children's clothing and footwear. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$740. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$66, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$76, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$98 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$36. 3) Communication: for various communication costs such as home telephone rental, internet subscription, mobile service provider tariff and data costs. A basket costing USD$200 in New York costs USD$264. Average price for a monthly standard plan internet subscription is USD$17, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$0.09 per minute. 4) Education: for items such as creche / pre-school fees, primary school fees, high school fees and tertiary study fees. A basket costing USD$30000 in New York costs USD$29100. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$18,820 for Primary School, and USD$20,944 for High School. 5) Furniture & Appliances: for items such as dining table and chairs, home entertainment, kitchen appliances, and sofas. A basket costing USD$2500 in New York costs USD$2925. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$829, and USD$711 for a 46+'' LED UHD TV. 6) Groceries: for items such as consumables, cleaning products, dairy, fresh fruit & vegetables, general food products, snacks, soft drinks. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$530. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$1.13, 1 kg oranges USD$1.63, 1 head lettuce USD$1.30, 1 kg potatos USD$0.51, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$5.67, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$6.75, 1 dozen large eggs USD$1.85, 500g loaf white bread USD$0.92, 1 L full cream milk USD$0.99, and 1.5 L water USD$0.65. 7) Healthcare: for general heath care, doctor visits, hospital stays, non-prescription medicine, and medical insurance. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$460. Average healthcare cost for a private practice Doctor visit for an uninsured patient is USD$37, and a private hospital stay per day including nursing care, medications, diagnostic tests, food, and related costs is USD$1,136. 8) Household Accommodation: for items such as apartment rent, house rent, property purchase, mortgage rate, and utilities. A basket costing USD$5000 in New York costs USD$1400. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$1,316 in a central location, and USD$804 in a suburban location, per month, excluding utilities. 9) Miscellaneous: for items such as dry cleaning, linen, magazines, newspapers, office supplies, and postage stamps. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$435. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$8.48, while an international newspaper is USD$2.61. 10) Personal Care: for items such as cosmetics, hair care, and toiletries. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$225. Average cost for a mens haircut and blow dry is USD$18, while a womens hair colour, cut and blow dry - medium length is USD$89. 11) Recreation & Culture: for items such as books, cinema, sport and theatre tickets. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$490. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$8.70, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$37 per month. 12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: for items such as hotel daily room rates, meals and beverages in a restaurant, and take away food and beverages. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$600. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$2.66, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$1.11, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$5.51, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$44.06. 13) Transport: for items such as fuel (petrol/gasoline), car hire, public transport, vehicle purchase and maintenance. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$750. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$1.37, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$19,774. Riga is -18.4% cheaper than Houston TX for groceries, -34.9% cheaper for household costs than Kuala Lumpur, and 27.2% 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.