On 1 September 2014 Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) celebrates 95 years since the institution was founded. CSB – at that time State Statistical Office – was founded on 1 September 1919 almost simultaneously with the birth of Latvia. From two structural units – demographic and agricultural statistics departments – today Statistics Bureau has grown to ten departments with more than 500 employees.
Today CSB has become a statistical institution meeting international standards and requirements whose information prepared on social and economic processes of Latvia is comparable with official statistical information of other European Union (EU) countries.
President of the CSB Aija Žīgure: "Statistics is mirror of life expressed in figures, it is a desire to expand our understanding on processes taking place around us, to cover the world we live in and the way we live. Statistics allows us to better understand habits, gains, problems and various challenges population of our country comes across. Habits of Latvian population, their lifestyle, work, travelling and consumption, pensions, holidays and political behaviour – this all is changing constantly and task of our institution is to inform on the development trends timely."
Beginning of Latvian statistics can be found in 1912 when political officer, statistician and publicist of the first Free State of Latvia Marģers Skujenieks published a book "National Issue in Latvia". In this publication for the first time Latvia in demographic statistics was looked at as a territorial unit – area of the territory of Latvia, number of population and national composition. Marģers Skujenieks also was the first director of State Statistical Office and made a significant contribution into the development of visualisation of diagrams, maps and data.
State Statistical Office developed very rapidly becoming one of internationally acknowledged statistical institutions, however, in 1940 events of the World War II terminated this development. After the Soviet occupation statistical office was transformed into the Statistical Bureau of the Latvian SSR, later in 1987 – into the State Committee on Statistics which mainly had function of planned economics implementation control. Secrecy and data availability only for official use was characteristic for statistics in Soviet period.
After the renewal of independence the CSB started to create statistical system on a new basis which was determined by state transition to a market economy and integration into the EU statistics system. During the negotiations on the entrance in EU, section "Statistics" was concluded as one of the first. During the first years of independence CSB was managed by Gunārs Baltiņš and Arvils Sautiņš, but from 1998 CSB president is Aija Žīgure.
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