Latvians - Settlements



Before World War II, some street villages with associated strip fields could still be found in the east. In the rest of the country, scattered single farms were the norm. The farmstead consisted of separate structures surrounding an open farm yard with the house fronting the road. Beginning on 17 June 1940 private farms were nationalized and confiscated, and state and collective farms were formed. After World War II, new rural settlements with apartment houses and large farm buildings were built. The country has been urbanized; 71 percent of the population lives in cities. Riga (pop. 915,106) is the country's capital and the seat of the Lutheran and Roman Catholic bishops. The next two largest cities—Daugavpils (pop. 126,680) and Liepāja (pop. 114,462)—are barely one-seventh that size. Latvia has three cities with 50,000 to 75,000 inhabitants (Jelgava, Jūrmala, and Ventspils) and twenty-six cities with 5,000 to 43,000 inhabitants. The vast majority of city dwellers live in apartments. Because of the proximity of services, the center of the city is considered to be the most desirable residential area.


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