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Depopulation Hits Latvia Economy Hard

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发表于 9-15-2021 11:08:56 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Ian Lovett, Depopulation Hits Latvia Economy Hard; Industrialized nations struggle as birthrates decline, workers leave; Riga seeks reversal. Wall Street Journal, Sept 14, 2021, at page A10.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/thi ... ulation-11631535362

Excerpt in the window of print: Last year, Latvia recorded its lowest number of births in a century.

Note:
(a) The English (of Norman origin) and French surname Lovett is "from Anglo-Norman French lo(u)vet, a nickname meaning wolf cub, young wolf (see Love, Low)."
(i) The surname Love is from Anglo-Norman French louve (feminine form of lou or leu wolf) female wolf. From lou came the surname Low.
(ii) Compare Latin-English dictionary:
* lupus (noun masculine; feminine lupa): "wolf"
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/lupus

(b) Latvia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latvia
(section 1 Etymology: tribal name; table: capital and Largest city  Riga [meaning and origin uncertain], government  parliamentary)
(c) Panel 1 of the graphic that comes with this WSJ article  shows Latvia's populations increased steadily from 1960 (~2.1m), peaked in 18at 2.7m, and then declined steadily (and more precipitously than the ascent) to the current 1.9m in 2021.
(d) CIA World Factbook: Real GDP growth rate: 2.08% (2019 est.) [the latest available], 4.2% (2018 est.), 3.23% (2017 est.); Real GDP per capita (PPP) $30,898 (2019 est.)
----------------------------------------------text (about 85%)
DAGDA, Latvia—For nearly three decades, Inara Frolova, a local civil servant, has recorded just how fast this remote district on Latvia’s eastern border has dwindled. When her three brothers, her first husband and her son left for Ireland, she wrote it down. When births hit their lowest-ever level last year, she entered the data.

This year, with its population at roughly half of what it was in 1990, DAGDA, Latvia—For nearly three decades, Inara Frolova, a local civil servant, has recorded just how fast this remote district on Latvia’s eastern border has dwindled. When her three brothers, her first husband and her son left for Ireland, she wrote it down. When births hit their lowest-ever level last year, she entered the data.

This year, with its population at roughly half of what it was in 1990, Dagda County was deemed too small to support a local government and merged with a nearby county.

"The only people still around here are retired," said Ms Frolova, 59 years old.

Latvia is on the front line of what could become one of the defining challenges for the industrialized world: it is running out of people.

From Portugal to Singapore and across most of the Americas, birthrates are falling, and population growth in the industrialized world has stalled or reversed. That prospect brings with it the specter of a shrinking labor force, an aging population and stagnant economic growth,

In Latvia, that future is here.

As in much of former Soviet Eastern Europe, Latvia's low birthrates have been exacerbated by a decadeslong exodus of young people for higher-paying jobs in the West and a reluctance to accept immigration from outside Europe. The result is a nation whose population is falling even faster than those of other countries, like Japan and Italy, where birthrates are lower.

Since joining the European Union, with its open borders and freedom to work anywhere in the bloc, in 2004, Latvia has [steadily, as panel 2 of the graphic that comes with this WSJ article shows] lost 17% of its population only neighboring Lithuania has lost more. The work-age population has fallen 23% over the period.
* * *
In January, the government adopted a new plan for working with the diaspora, which now numbers roughly 300,000, according to the foreign ministry.
* * *
The exodus has slowed, but getting expatriates to return -- and to stay -- has been difficult. Even last year during the pandemic, more Latvians left the country than came home.

The exodus is worse in rural areas, like Dagda, a few miles from Latvia's border with Belarus.
* * *
In recent years, Latvia's neighbors have managed to reverse demographic declines, at least temporarily, in part by increasing immigration. But Latvia remains resistant to immigration from outside the EU.

During the Cold War, the Soviet government sent thousands of migrants to the Baltic states, in part in an attempt to make them more Russian. The experience left scars, government officials said.

"As a small country, with 50 years of occupation in our memory, we are still a little afraid of foreigners coming in," said Elita Gavele, the ambassador to the Latvian diaspora. "It's better to be Latvian state, with the Latvian language."
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