Over the past 17 years, population decline observed in 45 out of 58 Riga neighbourhoods


Experimental geospatial statistics1 produced by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) on 58 Riga neighbourhoods shows that since 2000 Riga population has declined by 121 thousand people – from 762 443 to 641 481.

Analysis of the changes in breakdown by Riga city neighbourhood shows the sharpest usually resident population decline in the neighbourhoods located in Riga city centre – at the beginning of 2017 neighbourhood Centrs was resided by twice as few people (30 171) as during the Population and Housing Census 2000 (50 829), followed by a drop of one third (-38 %) in Riga old-town (neighbourhoodVecpilsēta), as well as neighbourhoods Avotu (-35 %) and Grīziņkalns (-27 %).

Geospatial analysis of the population change within the Riga city area shows that population of the capital is moving “into the woods” – the most significant population increase may be observed in neighbourhood Dreiliņi (53 times) and Dārziņi (24 times). Population rise was recorded also in neighbourhoods Suži, Pleskodāle, Mūkupurvs, Berģi, Bieriņi, Trīsciems, Atgāzene, Buļļi, Vecāķi, Beberbeķi, Skanste and Kleisti.

More detailed geospatial analysis indicates places in which absolute change in the usually resident population during the period 2000–2017 was highly above or highly below the average. Obvious population increase may be seen in territories with the largest multi-dwelling buildings commissioned during this period, for example in neighbourhoods Dreiliņi and Skanste. However, the most dramatic population decline may be observed in the central part of the city and many neighbourhoods with multi-dwelling buildings erected during the Soviet period. Geospatial data reflect also influence caused by the closing of the prison in neighbourhood Šķirotava.

Areas in Riga where absolute change in usually resident population is highly above or below the average*; 2000–2017

The average age of Riga population accounts for 42 years, and since 2000 the indicator has grown by two years. At the beginning of 2017, the lowest average age of population was recorded in neighbourhood Skanste (34 years), whereas the highest in neighbourhoods Ķengarags, Rumbula and Voleri (45 years).

Young people more commonly choose to live in neighbourhoods Skanste, Kleisti, Atgāzene, Centrs, Dreiliņi, Katlakalns, Vecpilsēta, Avoti, Brasa, Dārziņi and Trīsciems – the average age of population in these neighbourhoods has decreased, e.g., in 2017 the average age of persons residing in neighbourhood Skanste is seven years smaller than in 2000.

Out of the total number of Riga inhabitants, 78 % or 498 370 people are citizens of Latvia, 18 % or 114 361 are non-citizens of Latvia, 3 % or 20 512 people are citizens of Russia, whereas 1 % or 8 238 people are citizens of other countries. The largest proportion of Latvia citizens are inhabitants of neighbourhood Bieriņi (94 % of the total population in this neighbourhood) and the greatest share of non-citizens – in neighbourhood Daugavgrīva (31 %). The largest share of Russia citizens is recorded in neighbourhoods Daugavgrīva (8 %) and Skanste (6 %). Atgāzene, being the neighbourhood in which Turība University is located, has the highest proportion of inhabitants having citizenship of other countries – 14 %. Comparatively high proportion of foreigners is living also in Riga old-town (neighbourhood Vecpilsēta) – 6 %.

Analysis of the data in breakdown by ethnicity shows that neighbourhood Bieriņi (82 % of the neighbourhood population) is resided by the greatest share of Latvians, followed by neighbourhoods Buļļi (80 %) and Kundziņsala (79 %). The largest proportion of Russians is living in neighbourhoods Daugavgrīva (56 %) and Bolderāja (50 %).

Riga city neighbourhood statistics is based on the information acquired in Population and Housing Censuses of 2000 and 2011, as well as CSB population estimate of 2016 and 2017.

Population estimate on all the periods indicated was made based on geospatial data – coordinates of address points and boundaries of administrative territories in line with the State Land Service data on 1 January 2017. With such an approach, the fluctuations in the population of a territorial unit or administrative territory caused by the changes in boundaries of the respective territorial units were eliminated. The population having residence information last updated due to the cancellation of the residence registration is included in the number of inhabitants of the administrative territory in which the person's place of residence was previously declared or registered. The place of residence of these persons in the breakdown by Riga neighbourhoods is indicated as unknown.

Henceforth Riga neighbourhood statistics will be updated annually. Experimental geospatial statistics may be useful for local governments or other specialists engaged in territorial planning, such as researchers, students, or other data users. The new statistics is available in the CSB database section Population – Territorial Statistics (Experimental Statistics).


1 Experimental statistics is produced by using new data sources and methods in making attempts to expand the range of statistics or the level of detail thereof based on the needs of data users.It should be noted that the methods used in experimental statistics are not constant, approbated or internationally harmonized and can be changed to improve data quality.

CSB publishes experimental statistics to get user feedback, evaluate analytical potential of the data and relevance thereof to the actual reality and data user needs. The CSB believes that data users may find experimental data series valuable, even if the data have not been yet recognized as official statistics.  By publishing experimental statistics, the CSB provides data users with new sources of information that may be used for decision making.




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