Cost of Living in Latvia
Living in Latvia is a lot cheaper compared with more developed countries in Europe. It is a preferred destination among international students on a budget. Latvia, situated in the Baltic region, is projected to have an average inflation rate of 2.80% in 2014 to 2015. The minimum cost of living of an individual is €329.88 per month, excluding income tax and social insurance contributions.
In Latvia, about 25.21% of an individual’s monthly salary is spent on food and non-alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic drinks and cigarettes account for 3.24% of the total monthly budget. As of March 2014, the average prices of food essentials are as follows:
Meat = €6/kilogram
Cheese = €6/kilogram
Sausages = €5/kilogram
Chicken = €4.5/kilogram
Milk = €0.80.litre
Potatoes = €0.5/kilogram
Bread = €1
Transportation, communications and leisure pursuits account for 24.6% of the monthly budget while 16.66% is spent on rent and utilities. Latvenergo, the public electric utility company, has raised the electricity prices from €0.167 to €0.169 per 100 kilowatt hour (kWh) starting April 1 this year. The increased rate will be imposed on households consuming less than 200 kWh each month and those that have not registered with online customer portal e-latvenergo. According to new rates, households with low electricity consumption will be charged an additional €5 each month.
The new rates are charged based on electricity consumption.
Less than 200 kWh/month = €0.169/kWh
200 – 600 kWh/month = €0.1635/kWh
Over 600 kWh/month = €0.16/kWh
Latvia’s small economy is striving amid fragility across the region. The nation of 2.2 million people ranked 8th among 21 top emerging markets in a survey conducted by Bloomberg in 2013. Between 2014 and 2015, the projected average gross domestic product (GDP) growth is 4.13%, after Panama’s 6.70% and Peru’s 5.53%. Latvia posted the highest change in government debt as percentage of GDP at -10.40%. The European state also topped the list of emerging economies with the highest average total investment as percentage of GDP at 26.48%, followed by Poland (20.77%) and the Philippines (19.17%).
Aside from the booming economy and low cost of living, Latvia provides expats almost all rights afforded to citizens. Expats holding permanent residency status are free to move to another country while retaining all rights and privileges granted in Latvia and are extended the same social guarantees as Latvian citizens. The only rights limited to citizens are the right to vote and to hold a civil service position linked to national security.
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