Antra Ozola
University of Latvia

Language and Literacy

Latvian is the official language of Latvia and the primary language of instruction, although some schools provide instruction in up to eight minority languages. During the 2015–2016 school year, Latvian was the language of instruction in 620 general education schools, Russian was used in 94 schools, and 60 schools had both Latvian and Russian speaking classes. A few Latvian schools provide all or some instruction in Polish, Ukrainian, Belarusian, English, or French.1

In 2015, Latvia’s population was 61.6 percent Latvian, 25.8 percent Russian, 3.4 percent Belarusian, 2.3 percent Ukrainian, and 2.1 percent Polish. About 5 percent of the population is Lithuanian, Gypsy, or from other nationalities.2