Latvia is a small Baltic state with a population of just under 1.8 million people, located in the northeastern part of Europe between Estonia and Lithuania. The country's main economic potential is concentrated in the capital Riga, which generates more than half of the GDP and where more than 60 percent of Latvian companies operate. In general, the standard of living in Latvia is noticeably lower than in most EU member states.

According to various estimates, 35-40% of Latvia's population are Russian speaking while about 25-27% are ethnic Russians. Other major minorities are Belarusians (3.3%), Ukrainians (2.3%), Poles (2.2%), and Lithuanians (2%). More about prices and costs of living, taxes, popular jobs, salaries, education, medicine, and the pros and cons of living in Latvia in 2024.

Living in Latvia

Pros and cons of living in Latvia

The most popular cities for immigration and living in Latvia are Riga and Jurmala. By the way, today you can get a residence permit in Latvia by investing (250,000 euros) in real estate or financial investments such as local credit institutions or interest-free bonds. Let's highlight the positive and negative aspects of living on the territory of Latvia.

Pros of living in Latvia

  • Latvia is a member of the European Union, so local residents can enjoy all the benefits of this association, including free movement of labor, capital, goods and services.

  • Living in Latvia is much cheaper than in more developed European countries.

  • Latvia is a beautiful country with interesting architecture, quite comfortable climate and delicious cuisine.

  • Riga is the most important transit hub in the Baltics. It is an excellent place to do business.

Pros and cons of living in Latvia

Cons of living in Latvia

  • Limited job opportunities and low salaries.

  • There are problems with bureaucracy and corruption.

  • Many infrastructure facilities are in need of modernization.

  • There is an ongoing outflow of population, and people are obviously not leaving because of the good life.

Prices and cost of living in Latvia

One of the greatest advantages of living in Latvia is affordable prices. Especially if the income comes from abroad. To rent a studio apartment in Latvia in the central part of town will cost about 380 euros, and in remote areas about 270. The price of one square meter of real estate in the center – 1,870 euros, while in the countryside – 1,200 euros.

Prices in Latvia in 2024

  • Bread (500 g) – 1.32 euros

  • Milk (1 L) – 1.14 euros

  • Eggs (12 eggs) – 2.57 euros

  • Chicken Fillets (1 kg) – 6.64 euros

  • Potatoes (1 kg) – 0.77 euros

  • Latvian cheese (1 kg) – 9.90 euros

  • Bananas (1 kg) – 1.64 euros

  • Apples (1 kg) – 1.33 euros

  • Petrol (1 L) – 1.70 euros

  • Cab (1 km) – 0.85 euros

  • Public transport fare – 1.50 euros

  • Monthly bus pass – 30 euros

  • Utilities (85 sq. m.) – 304.64 euros per month

  • Mobile Tariff Local (month) – 17.16 euros

  • Internet – 15.83 euros per month

Note. Above are average prices in different cities of Latvia.

Tax rates in Latvia

Tax rates in Latvia in 2024

Corporate income tax – 20%

VAT – 21%. Reduced rates - 12.5 and 0%

Real estate tax – 1.5%

Income tax:

  • 20% for annual income not exceeding 20,004 euros

  • 23% for the annual income from 20,005 euros to 78,100 euros

  • 31.4% for income over 78,100 euros per year

National social security – 34.09%, of which 10.5% (employee) and 20.68% (employer)

Pension contribution – 30.13%, including 9.45% (employee) and 20.68% (employer)

Business risk – 0.36% (employer)

Non-taxable minimum – maximum 500 euros

Tax allowance for each dependent person – 250 euros

Work and salary in Latvia

As in many other Eastern European countries, young Latvians after graduation tend to go to live and work in more successful and larger countries of the European Union. This is a big problem for Latvian economy. Popular vacancies in Latvia for foreigners are international drivers (truck drivers), engineers, construction workers, programmers. Sometimes doctors and social workers are needed.

In terms of wages Latvia ranks last in the EU. The minimum wage in the country is equal to 700 euros a month. Less is paid only in neighboring Lithuania, as well as in Bulgaria. According to official data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, the average gross wage in Latvia in 2024 is €1,537 per month. A job in Riga brings €1,706.

Higher education in Latvia

Higher education in Latvia

The higher education system in Latvia is based on a credit system and it fully complies with the European standards. Studies at local universities are conducted in Latvian and English, and to a lesser extent in Russian. Among the best universities are the University of Latvia, Riga Technical University and Latvia Agricultural University.

The academic year in Latvia consists of two semesters – autumn (September-December) and spring (February-May). Typically students are offered the following degrees – Bachelor (3-4 years), Master (1-2 years) and Doctor (3-4 years). Tuition fees at higher education institutions in Latvia start at €1,500 per year and normally do not exceed €4,000. The exception is medical specialties, where the amount can be up to €15,000 euros.

Medicine in Latvia

With the help of special contributions, which are made by Latvians and permanent residents of Latvia, the state provides a wide range of medical services to the population. In order to receive budget-paid hospital treatment, you need a recommendation from your family doctor or a medical specialist, who has contractual obligations with the National Health Service.

The basic rate for receiving care in Latvian medical institutions (inpatient care) is 7.11 euros (from the second day 10 euros). Visiting a family doctor (outpatient) is 1.42 euros. The total amount of the patient's contribution for one calendar year must not exceed 569.15 euros. All health insurance policies used in Latvia are offered by private companies.

In conclusion it should be noted that the average life expectancy at birth in Latvia in 2024 is 75 years, with men living about 70 years and women 80.

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