Press Release

CSB releases statistics for densely populated areas of Latvia

Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) is releasing statistics for densely populated areas of Latvia which is an alternative to the existing administrative areas and territorial units, i.e., cities and villages. Densely populated area (DPA) is a distinct population cluster independent from administrative and territorial division, and it is populated by at least 50 people living or working in buildings that are located no more than 200 meters from each other.

Boundaries of villages are defined by each local government, however there are no common criteria for setting these boundaries, therefore villages are not mutually comparable. For example, whole territory of rural municipalities of Audriņi and Naujene is divided into villages. At the beginning of 2019, in twenty villages out of 1 438 having official border there were no usual residents, while 399 villages were populated by fewer than 50 people, says Head of the Dissemination Solutions Section Dāvis Kļaviņš.

In 2019, there were 1 319 densely populated areas in Latvia, 131 of which had fewer than 50 usual residents but at least 50 people were working there. Since 2000, the number of such areas has dropped in all statistical regions with the largest reduction in Latgale and Vidzeme (of 25 %) and smallest in Pierīga (2 %). Decline in the number of areas in Latgale and Vidzeme is related to the depopulation, while in Pierīga vice versa – by merging of several areas over the years due to the population increase.

Riga is the largest DPA as it is populated by 676 383 inhabitants (which is 43 312 people more than in Riga city) and 483 652 people are working in this DPA. Riga covers several populated areas of Pierīga, e.g., Baloži, Mārupe, Jaunmārupe, Ķekava and Bukulti, while Bolderāja, Mangaļsala, Jaunciems, Brekši and other are separated from Riga as independent DPAs.

Street Ziemeļu (Ziemeļu iela) located next to the Riga International Airport and Liepaja Business Centre (Liepājas biznesa centrs) are the largest DPAs in terms of people employed there but resided by fewer than 50 people – 1 596 and 1 189 employees, respectively.

Several DPAs, including Riga, are located in various administrative areas, thus showing a mismatch between the boundaries of administrative areas and actual distribution of population. E.g., DPAs in the city of Daugavpils are located on both sides of city and municipality boundaries and mainly break the continuity of the build-up area.

Densely populated areas in the city of Daugavpils and around it.

Densely populated areas in the city of Daugavpils and around it. Basemap – OpenStreetMap.


Difference between the boundaries of administrative areas and actual distribution of population may be observed also in Engure and Tukums municipalities. Boundary of Engure and Tukums municipalities split the DPA of Rauda into two parts, while Milzkalne of Engure municipality is located in the DPA of Tukums.

Densely populated area of Rauda.

Densely populated area of Rauda. Basemap – LVM GEO orthophoto WMS (data – LGIA orthophoto, 2016)


Iļģi in Grobiņa municipality is the largest densely populated area at least partly not located neither within the boundaries of city nor village (populated by 342 inhabitants), followed by Mežmalieši in Tērvete municipality (285 inhabitants), and Radopole in Viļāni municipality (250 inhabitants). It should be noted that there is a social care institution in both first DPAs.

DPAs were estimated within the framework of the grant project Sub-National Statistics co-financed by the European Commission. Such an estimate in Latvia is made for the first time, therefore CSB welcomes all recommendations in this respect. Contact us by writing to the e-mail address The data and all explanatory information is available in the Latvian Open Data Portal.

Aiming to inspire society to create data-based products and make data-based decisions, all data enthusiasts are welcome to take part in the local government open data hackathon on 18 October. The hackathon is aimed at showing local governments and inhabitants, businesses or tourists thereof useful digital tools and services. Find out more on the Latvian Open Technology Association website.

Methodological explanations

Definition of DPA is based on the definition of locality stipulated by the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/543 of 22 March 2017. The Regulation defines that locality is a distinct population cluster, that is an area defined by population living in neighbouring or contiguous buildings none of which is separated from its nearest neighbour by more than 200 meters. The clusters, in turn, are merged if they connect industrial and commercial buildings and facilities, public parks, playgrounds and gardens, football fields and other sports facilities, bridged rivers, railway lines, canals, parking lots and other transport infrastructure, churchyards and cemeteries.

DPAs are calculated at the beginning of 2019 (considering both place of residence and work) and at Population and Housing Census moment (considering only place of residence). In future it has been planned to recalculate DPAs every five years.


Media requests:
Communication Section

Phone: +371 67366989, +371 27880666

More information on data:
Dāvis Kļaviņš
Dissemination Solutions Section
Phone: +371 67366874


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