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Latvia
Population (2009 est.)2,231,503
Religious DemographicsLutheran 19.6%, Orthodox 15.3%, other Christian 1%, other 0.4%, unspecified 63.7% (2006)
Ethnic GroupsLatvian 57.7%, Russian 29.6%, Belarusian 4.1%, Ukrainian 2.7%, Polish 2.5%, Lithuanian 1.4%, other 2% (2002)
LanguagesLatvian (official) 58.2%, Russian 37.5%, Lithuanian and other 4.3% (2000 census)

The country has an area of 25,000 square miles and a population of 2.2 million. The largest religious groups and their percentages of the population include: Roman Catholic (22 percent), Lutheran (20 percent), and Orthodox Christian (16 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, 10,139 persons identified themselves as ethnically Jewish.

As of April 2009, approximately 1,200 congregations were registered with the Government. These included Lutheran congregations (301), Catholic (250), Orthodox Christian (119), Baptist (92), Old Believer Orthodox (70), Seventh-day Adventist (51), Muslim (17), Jehovah's Witnesses (14), Methodist (13), Jewish (12), Hare Krishna (11), Buddhist (4), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) (4), and 194 other congregations.

Interest in religion increased markedly following the restoration of independence; however, many adherents do not regularly practice their faith. In 2008 religious groups provided the following estimates of membership in congregations to the Justice Ministry: Catholics (500,000), Lutherans (435,000), Orthodox Christians (370,000), Baptists (7,062), Seventh-day Adventists (3,950), Old Believer Orthodox (2,607), Mormons (494), Methodists (635), Muslims (332), Jews (586), Jehovah's Witnesses (176), Hare Krishnas (124), 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.

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