In democratic society population is interested in social and political activities both in the country and in own neighbourhood. It approves their participation in the development of the country. To what extent it can be related to the population of Latvia?
In the EU-SILC1 survey 20062, which was carried out by the Central Statistical Bureau, the questions asked to the respondents included also issues on social participation, i.e., on their activities in public and political organisations, social communication with friends and relatives, as well as, on their cultural, recreation and sporting activities and frequency of those activities during last 12 months.
Within the framework of the survey the level of social participation was found out with the help of questions on involvement in various public and political organisations. As it can be seen from the following graph, there is no public or political organisation with proportionally larger number of involved residents, and in none of those organisations people are taking especially active participation. The smallest number of such kind of activities was observed in rural areas.
Population participation in activities of various public and political organizations
80% of the total population aged 16 and older (78% in urban and 85% in rural areas) did not participate in any of public or political organisations of Latvia included in the graph.
Comparatively more popular was the participation in activities of churches or other religious organisations, in which according to the survey data almost every eleventh resident aged 16 and older took part. Still, the population participation in activities of churches or other religious organisations in rural areas was noticeably smaller then the corresponding indicator in urban areas.
The second most often mentioned form of participation in activities of public organisations was participation in activities of political parties and trade unions, which were able to engage 7.0% residents aged 16 and older. Unfortunately only small share of population mentioned that they participate in activities of charitable organisations. The second most rarely mentioned of the public organisations included in the survey were professional associations.
The residents of Zemgale socially are more active. Among all regions of Latvia it had the highest level of participation in activities of political parties and trade unions (11.7%), in activities of churches and other religious organisations (12.2%), as well as, in participation in activities of recreation groups and organisations (5.8%).
Among the various age groups of the population the level of socially political activity differs. Nevertheless, the data of the survey does not show significant differences in those processes, still, more active is the population aged 50-64, but young people aged 16-24 are less active.
Population participation in activities of public or political organizations by age (in per cent)
The young people aged 16-24 mostly were attracted by the participation in activities of recreational groups and organisations, participation in which according to the survey data reached 6.2% (3.9% for total population), but in activities of churches and other religious organisations up to 14% (each seventh) of the population aged 65 and older (8.9% of total population). If compared to 3.7% of total population, the participation in the activities of professional associations more often (4.4%) was mentioned by the residents aged 25-49.
Does the situation in Latvia significantly differ from the one in other Baltic States? The answer is given in the following graph.
Level of population participation in activities of public and political organizations in the Baltic States (in per cent)
The Southern neighbours were more active in participation in activities of churches and other religious organisations. Both the population of Lithuania and Estonia more often than the residents of Latvia participate in the activities of recreational groups or organisations. But the population of Latvia comparatively more are participating in the activities of political parties and trade unions.
1 Community Statistics on Income and Living conditions (EU-SILC), which in all Member States of the European Union is carried out using united methodology and definitions.
2 In EU-SILC survey of 2006 totally 9.1 thousand respondents aged 16 and older were surveyed.
Prepared by Social Statistics Department
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