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Living in the EU

Each EU country is unique. This means that gross domestic product (GDP) and population growth – for example – can be very different from one country to the next. Each country also has its own approach to key policy areas such as education.

Size and population

The EU covers over 4 million km² and has 503 million inhabitants — the world’s third largest population after China and India. By surface area, France is the biggest EU country and Malta the smallest.

Surface area in thousands of square kilometres

CountrySurface area
(1 000 km²)
Malta (MT)0.3
Luxembourg (LU)2.6
Cyprus (CY)9.3
Slovenia (SI)20.1
Belgium (BE)30.3
Netherlands (NL)33.8
Denmark (DK)43.1
Estonia (EE)43.4
Slovakia (SK)49.0
Croatia (HR)56.5
Latvia (LV)62.3
Lithuania (LT)62.7
Ireland (IE)68.4
Czech Republic (CZ)77.3
Austria (AT)82.5
CountrySurface area
(1 000 km²)
Portugal (PT)91.9
Hungary (HU)93.0
Bulgaria (BG)111.0
Greece (EL)130.7
Romania (RO)230.0
United Kingdom (UK)243.8
Italy (IT)295.1
Finland (FI)304.5
Poland (PL)312.7
Germany (DE)357.0
Sweden (SE)410.3
Spain (ES)506.0
France (FR)544.0
Total surface4271,6


Source: Eurostat

Population by country (Total EU population : 505 665 739)

CountryTotal populationPopulation %
Malta (MT)4213640.08%
Luxembourg (LU)5370390.10%
Cyprus (CY)8658780.17%
Estonia (EE)13201740.26%
Latvia (LV)20238250.39%
Slovenia (SI)20588210.40%
Lithuania (LT)29719050.58%
Croatia (HR)42621400.84%
Ireland (IE)45910870.90%
Slovakia (SK)54108361.06%
Finland (FI)54266741.07%
Denmark (DK)56026281.10%
Bulgaria (BG)72845521.43%
Austria (AT)84518601.66%
Sweden (SE)95558931.88%
Hungary (HU)99087981.95%
Portugal (PT)104872892.06%
Czech Republic (CZ)105161252.07%
Greece (EL)110625082.18%
Belgium (BE)111616422.20%
Netherlands (NL)167795753.30%
Romania (RO)200200743.94%
Poland (PL)385332997.59%
Spain (ES)467278909.21%
Italy (IT)5968522711.77%
United Kingdom (UK)6390529712.60%
France (FR)6557881912.93%
Germany (DE)8052374615.88%
(EA18)33311425465.69%
Total population507 069 424100%

Europe’s population is increasing through a combination of natural growth ( more people are born each year than die) and net migration (more people settle in the EU than leave it).

At the same time, the population of Europe is ageing as life expectancy increases and fewer children are born.

Quality of life

Living standards can be compared by measuring the price of a range of goods and services in each country relative to income, using a common notional currency called the purchasing power standard (PPS). Comparing GDP per inhabitant in PPS provides an overview of living standards across the EU.

Source: Eurostat

GDP per capita in PPS

CountryGDP per capita in PPS
Bulgaria (BG)47
Romania (RO)53
Croatia (HR)61
Latvia (LV)64
Hungary (HU)67
Poland (PL)67
Estonia (EE)71
Lithuania (LT)72
Greece (EL)76
Portugal (PT)76
Slovakia (SK)76
Czech Republic (CZ)81
Slovenia (SI)84
Malta (MT)86
Cyprus (CY)91
Spain (ES)96
Italy (IT)100
United Kingdom (UK)104
(EA18)108
France (FR)109
Finland (FI)115
Belgium (BE)120
Germany (DE)123
Denmark (DK)126
Sweden (SE)126
Netherlands (NL)127
Ireland (IE)129
Austria (AT)130
Luxembourg (LU)263

The EU strives to improve living standards by protecting the environment, encouraging job creation, reducing regional disparities and connecting formerly isolated areas by developing cross-border infrastructure.

The data is not available for EU countries that do not appear
in the drop-down menu.

Source: Eurostat


Regional gross domestic product (PPS per inhabitant as a percentage of the EU-27 average)

CountryGDP per capita in PPS
Croatia59
Slovenia71
Ireland86
Bulgaria168
Slovakia182
Romania286
Hungary299
Denmark422
Finland440
Portugal446
Czech Republic483
Sweden790
Greece802
Poland836
Austria964
Belgium1043
Netherlands1317
Spain1670
Italy1955
France2189
United Kingdom3256
Germany4335

Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Severozapaden29
Severen tsentralen31
Yuzhen tsentralen32
Severoiztochen38
Yugoiztochen38
Yugozapaden78
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Prov. Hainaut79
Prov. Luxembourg (BE)81
Prov. Namur86
Prov. Liège90
Prov. Limburg (BE)99
Prov. Oost-Vlaanderen109
Prov. West-Vlaanderen114
Prov. Brabant Wallon119
Prov. Vlaams-Brabant127
Prov. Antwerpen139
Rég. Bruxelles / Brussels Gewest222
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Severozápad63
Strední Morava66
Severovýchod67
Jihozápad70
Moravskoslezsko71
Strední Cechy73
Jihovýchod73
Praha171
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Sjælland88
Nordjylland110
Syddanmark111
Midtjylland113
Hovedstaden153
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern84
Lüneburg85
Thüringen85
Chemnitz86
Sachsen-Anhalt86
Brandenburg88
Dresden89
Leipzig95
Trier101
Schleswig-Holstein103
Koblenz107
Weser-Ems109
Münster111
Gießen112
Berlin113
Arnsberg113
Oberfranken116
Rheinhessen-Pfalz117
Kassel118
Hannover119
Freiburg120
Saarland120
Detmold121
Niederbayern125
Unterfranken125
Schwaben125
Braunschweig125
Köln129
Oberpfalz130
Tübingen133
Mittelfranken133
Karlsruhe135
Düsseldorf137
Stuttgart152
Bremen158
Darmstadt162
Oberbayern168
Hamburg202
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Eesti69
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Border, Midland and Western86
Southern and Eastern145
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Ipeiros55
Thessalia56
Anatoliki Makedonia, Thraki57
Dytiki Ellada59
Kentriki Makedonia62
Voreio Aigaio63
Peloponnisos65
Kriti69
Sterea Ellada72
Ionia Nisia75
Dytiki Makedonia80
Notio Aigaio89
Attiki107
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Extremadura67
Andalucía73
Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla (ES)76
Castilla-la Mancha77
Región de Murcia79
Canarias (ES)82
Ciudad Autónoma de Ceuta (ES)83
Comunidad Valenciana85
Galicia87
Principado de Asturias91
Cantabria94
Castilla y León95
Illes Balears101
Aragón108
La Rioja109
Cataluña113
Comunidad Foral de Navarra124
Comunidad de Madrid126
País Vasco130
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Guyane (FR)53
Réunion (FR)69
Guadeloupe (FR)77
Martinique (FR)77
Picardie83
Lorraine83
Limousin83
Languedoc-Roussillon83
Basse-Normandie84
Franche-Comté86
Poitou-Charentes87
Auvergne87
Nord - Pas-de-Calais88
Bretagne89
Bourgogne90
Centre (FR)91
Corse91
Champagne-Ardenne92
Aquitaine95
Midi-Pyrénées95
Haute-Normandie96
Pays de la Loire96
Alsace101
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur104
Rhône-Alpes109
Île de France182
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Campania63
Calabria64
Sicilia65
Puglia67
Basilicata71
Sardegna77
Molise78
Abruzzo87
Umbria93
Marche102
Liguria106
Piemonte110
Toscana110
Friuli-Venezia Giulia116
Lazio117
Veneto118
Provincia Autonoma di Trento122
Emilia-Romagna125
Valle d'Aosta/Vallée d'Aoste132
Lombardia132
Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano/Bozen147
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Kypros94
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Latvija60
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Lietuva68
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Luxembourg266
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Észak-Magyarország40
Észak-Alföld43
Dél-Alföld44
Dél-Dunántúl45
Közép-Dunántúl59
Nyugat-Dunántúl68
Közép-Magyarország110
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Malta86
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Flevoland94
Drenthe99
Friesland (NL)105
Gelderland109
Overijssel113
Limburg (NL)116
Zeeland124
Zuid-Holland128
Noord-Brabant131
Noord-Holland146
Utrecht152
Groningen182
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Burgenland (AT)87
Niederösterreich106
Kärnten110
Steiermark112
Oberösterreich130
Tirol133
Vorarlberg137
Salzburg149
Wien165
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Lubelskie44
Podkarpackie44
Podlaskie47
Warminsko-Mazurskie47
Swietokrzyskie49
Opolskie52
Lubuskie54
Kujawsko-Pomorskie54
Zachodniopomorskie55
Malopolskie56
Lódzkie60
Pomorskie62
Wielkopolskie68
Slaskie70
Dolnoslaskie74
Mazowieckie107
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Norte62
Centro (PT)64
Alentejo70
Região Autónoma dos Açores (PT)72
Algarve79
Região Autónoma da Madeira (PT)99
Lisboa107
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Nord-Est29
Sud-Vest Oltenia37
Sud-Est39
Sud - Muntenia40
Nord-Vest42
Centru45
Vest54
Bucuresti - Ilfov122
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Vzhodna Slovenija71
Zahodna Slovenija100
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Východné Slovensko51
Stredné Slovensko59
Západné Slovensko72
Bratislavský kraj186
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Pohjois- ja Itä-Suomi95
Etelä-Suomi102
Länsi-Suomi105
Åland138
Helsinki-Uusimaa153
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Norra Mellansverige106
Sydsverige107
Östra Mellansverige108
Småland med öarna110
Mellersta Norrland116
Västsverige118
Övre Norrland125
Stockholm173
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly64
West Wales and The Valleys64
Tees Valley and Durham71
Lincolnshire74
South Yorkshire75
Shropshire and Staffordshire77
Lancashire78
Northern Ireland (UK)78
Merseyside80
East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire80
Devon80
Highlands and Islands80
Northumberland and Tyne and Wear83
Cumbria83
Dorset and Somerset84
Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire85
Kent85
Essex86
West Midlands87
North Yorkshire89
Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire89
South Western Scotland89
Greater Manchester90
Outer London90
East Wales91
West Yorkshire93
Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire93
East Anglia94
Eastern Scotland98
Hampshire and Isle of Wight102
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire107
Surrey, East and West Sussex107
Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bristol/Bath area110
Cheshire118
Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire143
North Eastern Scotland159
Inner London321
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Jadranska Hrvatska59
Kontinentalna Hrvatska62

The data is not available for EU countries that do not appear
in the drop-down menu.

Education

Education increases the skills of the workforce and puts them in a better position to cope with increasing international competition. The amount of money each country spends on education varies.

The EU encourages people to spend time abroad as part of their education. The Erasmus programme for student exchanges has been particularly successful.

Source: Eurostat

Students from one EU country studying in another, by host country

CountryTotal students in thousandsStudents %
Malta (MT)1.40.24%
Slovenia (SI)2.50.43%
Estonia (EE)4.60.79%
Denmark (DK)5.81.00%
Latvia (LV)7.21.24%
Luxembourg (LU)7.81.34%
Croatia (HR)8.91.53%
Finland (FI)9.01.55%
Hungary (HU)9.51.64%
Belgium (BE)11.51.98%
Czech Republic (CZ)12.92.22%
Austria (AT)14.92.57%
Sweden (SE)15.12.60%
Lithuania (LT)15.22.62%
United Kingdom (UK)17.02.93%
Netherlands (NL)18.73.22%
Portugal (PT)18.83.24%
Bulgaria (BG)25.14.33%
Ireland (IE)25.34.36%
Cyprus (CY)25.54.40%
Greece (EL)27.44.73%
Spain (ES)29.05.00%
Romania (RO)31.75.47%
Slovakia (SK)35.16.06%
Poland (PL)42.17.27%
France (FR)53.79.27%
Italy (IT)54.59.41%
Germany (DE)104.418.03%
(EU28)634.4109.56%

Languages

Language skills are becoming increasingly important, as globalisation leads to more and more contact with people from other countries. The EU actively encourages the acquisition of language skills from an early age.

No data available for some countries and/or sectors

Source: Eurostat

Average number of foreign languages learned per pupil in Upper Secondary Education (International Standard Classification of Education level 3)

CountryTotal languages
Portugal (PT)0.8
Denmark (DK)0.9
Germany (DE)0.9
Ireland (IE)0.9
Greece (EL)1.1
Hungary (HU)1.2
Netherlands (NL)1.2
Lithuania (LT)1.3
Austria (AT)1.3
Italy (IT)1.4
Czech Republic (CZ)1.5
Croatia (HR)1.5
Bulgaria (BG)1.6
Latvia (LV)1.6
Poland (PL)1.6
Slovenia (SI)1.6
Sweden (SE)1.6
Belgium (BE)1.7
Cyprus (CY)1.7
Malta (MT)1.7
France (FR)1.8
Slovakia (SK)1.8
Estonia (EE)2.0
Romania (RO)2.0
Luxembourg (LU)2.4

No data available for some countries and/or sectors