- Religious Freedom
- Religious Regulation
- Religious Support
Latvia - Major World Religions2
Latvia - Largest Religious Groups2
Preferred Religion (2015)1: Western Christian
Majority Religion (2015)2: Protestant (incl. Anglican, Pentecostal) (31.3%)
Religious Adherents, (2015)2
The country has an area of 25,000 square miles and a population of 2.2 million. The largest religious groups and their percentage of the population include: Roman Catholicism (22 percent), Lutheranism (20 percent), and Orthodox Christianity (15 percent). Sizeable religious minorities include Baptists, Pentecostals, and evangelical Protestant groups. The once large Jewish community was virtually destroyed in the Holocaust during the 1941-44 German occupation. In 2008, according to official sources, 10,168 persons identified themselves as ethnically Jewish.
As of April 2008, the Board of Religious Affairs had registered approximately 1,200 congregations. These included Lutheran congregations (301), Roman Catholic (250), Orthodox Christian (119), Baptist (93), Old Believer Orthodox (69), Seventh-day Adventist (51), Muslim (17), Jehovah's Witnesses (14), Methodist (13), Jewish (13), Hare Krishna (11), Buddhist (4), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) (4), and 211 other congregations.
Interest in religion increased markedly following the restoration of independence; however, many adherents do not regularly practice their faith. In 2007 religious groups provided the following estimates of membership in congregations to the Justice Ministry: Roman Catholics (500,000), Lutherans (435,000), Orthodox Christians (350,000), Baptists (7,089), Seventh-day Adventists (3,900), Old Believer Orthodox (2,287), Mormons (858), Methodists (649), Muslims (334), Jews (247), Jehovah's Witnesses (176), Hare Krishnas (122), and Buddhists (100). Orthodox Christians, many of whom are Russian-speaking, noncitizen permanent residents, are concentrated in the major cities, while many Catholics live in the east.
1. The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Government Religious Preference (GRP) measures government-level favoritism toward, and disfavor against, 30 religious denominations. A series of ordered categorical variables index the state's institutional favoritism in 28 different ways. The variables are combined to form five composite indices for five broad components of state-religion: official status, religious education, financial support, regulatory burdens, and freedom of practice. The five components' composites in turn are further combined into a single composite score, the GRP score. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson, the principal investigator of the World Christian Database, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.
2. The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports annual estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivisions within Christianity and Islam. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson, the principal investigator of the World Christian Database, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.
3. The U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report is submitted to Congress annually by the Department of State in compliance with Section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. This report supplements the most recent Human Rights Reports by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom. It includes individual country chapters on the status of religious freedom worldwide. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. These State Department reports are open source.