Actual and preferred places of death and forms of burial in Latvia: findings from the 2020 social survey

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The annual statistical data on mortality (total numbers, demographics and causes of death) in Latvia are collected by the Central Statistical Bureau. Surveys generally collect data about the living. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate how survey data can complement regular statistics and provide a more nuanced picture of how Latvians would prefer to die and be buried vs how this currently happens. The data were gathered through a survey applying stratified randomized sampling of Latvian adult population (N=1012, aged 18 -75, collected by the public opinion research centre SKDS in October 2020). The questionnaire was designed by the authors. Part of the questionnaire concerned the circumstances of the respondents’ latest encounters with death in the family or among close friends. N=841 valid sample were obtained. Majority of the respondents’ loved ones had died in institutions (hospitals, retirement or nursing homes) – 46,9% total. 44,5% had died at their own or relatives’ homes, and 8,6% - elsewhere (at workplace, due to accidents e.a.).The most common source of support for those dying at home was their family and friends (45,8%). 29,2% of the families received consultations from their family doctor and 20,5% received specialized medical consultations. 11,5% were aided by neighbours, and 17,7% had not received any help. The most common form of burial is interment in the ground (92,8%), only 7,2% of the deceased were cremated, mostly in Riga. However, a bigger number of respondents would prefer cremation for their own funeral – 23,8%; 62,7% would prefer interment. There is an observable discrepancy between the preferable and real circumstances of death and same applies to the forms of burial.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2021
EventRSU Research week 2021: Society. Health. Welfare - Rīga, Latvia
Duration: 24 Mar 202126 Mar 2021
Conference number: 8


ConferenceRSU Research week 2021: Society. Health. Welfare
Internet address

Field of Science*

  • 5.4 Sociology

Publication Type*

  • 3.4. Other publications in conference proceedings (including local)


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