Press Release

The first administrative data-based Population and Housing Census in Latvia

In 2021, Latvian Population and Housing Census for the first time will be conducted based solely on administrative data, thus following the practice of the Nordic countries. Such an approach has been stipulated by the Regulations on Population and Housing Census 2021 of the Cabinet reviewed today.

European countries conducting or planning to conduct register-based Census

European countries conducting or planning to conduct register-based Census

Benefits of administrative data-based Population and Housing Census:

  • Swift results – population and indicators characterising population will be published already in the 2nd quarter of 2021 and economic indicators in the 2nd quarter of 2022.
  • Three times lower expenses – census conducted in the conventional manner would cost EUR 10 million in 2021, while use of administrative data reduces the expenses to EUR 3.5 million.
  • Lower response burden – the results will be used also in running statistical sample surveys, thus reducing the burden on respondents.

Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia (CSB) is aiming to identify all possible data sources and assess suitability of the quality thereof. Currently Census database includes data from more than 40 various registers.

CSB will not ask people to give information that is available in administrative sources, e.g., Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, State Revenue Service, State Social Insurance Agency and other information systems containing information on the population of Latvia and its housing.

Every year response rate is declining, and unwillingness to participate in surveys have led statisticians to the conclusion that there is much more work to be done at national level to avoid overwhelming citizens with surveys and get the needed information in new, innovative ways by retrieving and combining the information available in the existing registers.

The key task of the Population and Housing Census is to help statisticians in specifying usually resident population of the country, which nowadays is rather difficult task as people can work, study and move to and from any country of the world. Due to this reason, getting ready for the Census means working on the improvements to the population estimate methodology by using additional administrative sources. Success of the administrative data-based Census lies in cooperation with other institutions, quality of the data available in various public registers and information systems, as well as possibilities to process the respective data automatically. Currently the difference between the population in the register of Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs and actual population of Latvia based on the CSB estimate accounts for 8 %.

Information on occupations and kinds of economic activities people are employed in mainly is drawn from the State Revenue Service. However, there are occupations more detailed information on which is available in other data sources. The information available to the CSB cooperation partners will allow us to acquire more detailed information on sailors, artists, representatives of religious organizations, guides, lawyers, etc.

None of the national registers contains comprehensive information about educational attainment of the population. CSB will acquire the data by using results acquired in surveys as well as information of the Ministry of Education and Science and other institutions.

The CSB will acquire data on housings, their types and amenities in dwellings from the Real Estate State Cadastre Information System, supplementing the information with the results of the previous Census and data from other administrative sources, if necessary. Addressing codes of the State Address Register Information System will allow the CSB to link the information on housings with that on population. Since the previous Census, the housing addressing issue, i.e., cases when, e.g., houses in several populated areas of Latgale did not have address, has been solved.

Population and Housing Census is a wide and irreplaceable data source for demographers, sociologists and other researchers. The Census 2021 will be the 11th Latvian census, while the first one in which no additional interviewers will be recruited and no people will be interviewed. The Census 2011 engaged 1 600 interviewers.

Population and Housing Census 2021 will be conducted in all EU Member States, which will ensure that the results thereof will be internationally comparable.

The innovative approach to the survey conduction will allow to produce Census results significantly faster than before. E.g., statistics for population, population age and sex will be published already a couple of months after the critical moment of the Census – 1 January 2021, while economic indicators will be available in the 2nd quarter of 2022, as the data will be compiled from the State Revenue Service reports part of which is available to statisticians only at the end of the year.

Population and Housing Census 2021 programme covers information on both population and housings thereof, indicators on language use will not be collected this year. CSB asked population about language skills in a sample survey conducted in 2017 and found out that Latvian is mother tongue of 60.8 % of the usually resident population of Latvia, which is 2.6 percentage points higher indicator than that found in the Census 2000. The CSB is including additional questions on current and important issues (e.g., mother tongue) in current regular population surveys and will do it’s best to supplement also future surveys with the relevant questions.

European Commission is working on a new draft regulation that will provide for a requirement for some of the indicators included in the Census programme after this Census to be produced every year instead of every ten years. It means that the work done when getting ready for the Population and Housing Census 2021 will provide data users with detailed information on the population of the country every year.


Media requests:
Phone: +371 67366989, +371 27880666

More information on data:
Maranda Behmane
Social Statistics Department
Phone: +371 67366878


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