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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 : 507069424)

CountryTotal populationPopulation %
Malta (MT)4213640.08%
Luxembourg (LU)5370390.10%
Cyprus (CY)8658780.17%
Estonia (EE)13248140.26%
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)467043089.21%
Italy (IT)5968522711.77%
United Kingdom (UK)6389607112.60%
France (FR)6563319412.94%
Germany (DE)8052374615.88%
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)48
Latvia (LV)60
Croatia (HR)61
Poland (PL)65
Hungary (HU)67
Lithuania (LT)68
Estonia (EE)69
Slovakia (SK)75
Portugal (PT)77
Greece (EL)80
Czech Republic (CZ)81
Slovenia (SI)84
Malta (MT)86
Cyprus (CY)94
Spain (ES)96
Italy (IT)102
United Kingdom (UK)105
France (FR)109
Finland (FI)116
Belgium (BE)120
Germany (DE)123
Sweden (SE)125
Denmark (DK)126
Ireland (IE)129
Netherlands (NL)129
Austria (AT)129
Luxembourg (LU)266

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
Croatia60
Slovenia71
Ireland89
Bulgaria159
Slovakia175
Romania285
Hungary287
Denmark425
Finland439
Portugal468
Czech Republic489
Sweden743
Poland789
Austria937
Greece956
Belgium1023
Netherlands1342
Spain1785
Italy2007
France2209
United Kingdom3501
Germany4034

Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Severozapaden27
Severen tsentralen29
Yuzhen tsentralen31
Severoiztochen36
Yugoiztochen36
Yugozapaden75
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Prov. Hainaut77
Prov. Luxembourg (BE)80
Prov. Namur84
Prov. Liège89
Prov. Limburg (BE)95
Prov. Oost-Vlaanderen107
Prov. West-Vlaanderen110
Prov. Brabant Wallon119
Prov. Vlaams-Brabant127
Prov. Antwerpen135
Rég. Bruxelles / Brussels Gewest224
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Severozápad67
Severovýchod67
Strední Morava67
Moravskoslezsko68
Jihozápad71
Strední Cechy74
Jihovýchod75
Praha176
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Sjælland87
Syddanmark111
Nordjylland111
Midtjylland116
Hovedstaden148
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Thüringen78
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern80
Chemnitz80
Sachsen-Anhalt81
Brandenburg82
Lüneburg82
Dresden85
Leipzig89
Trier96
Schleswig-Holstein99
Koblenz100
Weser-Ems102
Münster103
Gießen104
Arnsberg104
Braunschweig106
Oberfranken107
Rheinhessen-Pfalz108
Saarland109
Freiburg110
Kassel110
Niederbayern111
Berlin111
Hannover113
Detmold114
Unterfranken115
Schwaben115
Oberpfalz117
Tübingen118
Köln124
Mittelfranken125
Karlsruhe129
Düsseldorf131
Stuttgart133
Bremen148
Darmstadt157
Oberbayern158
Hamburg198
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Eesti64
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Border, Midland and Western89
Southern and Eastern143
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Ipeiros66
Anatoliki Makedonia, Thraki69
Thessalia69
Dytiki Ellada70
Kentriki Makedonia75
Peloponnisos76
Voreio Aigaio77
Sterea Ellada83
Kriti83
Dytiki Makedonia86
Ionia Nisia93
Notio Aigaio109
Attiki125
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Extremadura72
Andalucía79
Castilla-la Mancha83
Región de Murcia86
Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla (ES)86
Canarias (ES)87
Comunidad Valenciana91
Galicia92
Ciudad Autónoma de Ceuta (ES)94
Principado de Asturias96
Castilla y León99
Cantabria100
Illes Balears109
La Rioja113
Aragón114
Cataluña120
Comunidad Foral de Navarra130
País Vasco134
Comunidad de Madrid137
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Guyane (FR)54
Réunion (FR)68
Martinique (FR)74
Guadeloupe (FR)75
Picardie83
Basse-Normandie85
Limousin85
Lorraine86
Languedoc-Roussillon86
Franche-Comté87
Poitou-Charentes87
Auvergne88
Nord - Pas-de-Calais89
Bretagne91
Corse91
Bourgogne92
Centre (FR)93
Haute-Normandie94
Champagne-Ardenne95
Pays de la Loire97
Aquitaine97
Midi-Pyrénées98
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur102
Alsace103
Rhône-Alpes109
Île de France177
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Campania67
Puglia68
Calabria68
Sicilia69
Basilicata75
Sardegna80
Molise83
Abruzzo87
Umbria96
Marche105
Piemonte110
Liguria110
Toscana113
Friuli-Venezia Giulia116
Veneto120
Lazio122
Provincia Autonoma di Trento125
Emilia-Romagna127
Valle d'Aosta/Vallée d'Aoste133
Lombardia133
Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano/Bozen149
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Kypros100
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Latvija54
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Lietuva58
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Luxembourg253
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Észak-Magyarország40
Észak-Alföld43
Dél-Alföld43
Dél-Dunántúl45
Közép-Dunántúl55
Nyugat-Dunántúl61
Közép-Magyarország109
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Malta85
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Flevoland95
Drenthe100
Friesland (NL)106
Gelderland113
Limburg (NL)116
Overijssel117
Zeeland121
Zuid-Holland132
Noord-Brabant132
Noord-Holland150
Utrecht160
Groningen174
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Burgenland (AT)85
Niederösterreich103
Kärnten106
Steiermark109
Oberösterreich125
Tirol132
Vorarlberg133
Salzburg144
Wien164
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Lubelskie41
Podkarpackie41
Warminsko-Mazurskie44
Podlaskie45
Swietokrzyskie47
Opolskie51
Kujawsko-Pomorskie51
Malopolskie52
Lubuskie52
Zachodniopomorskie53
Lódzkie56
Pomorskie59
Wielkopolskie65
Slaskie66
Dolnoslaskie66
Mazowieckie97
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Norte64
Centro (PT)67
Alentejo72
Região Autónoma dos Açores (PT)75
Algarve85
Região Autónoma da Madeira (PT)105
Lisboa113
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Nord-Est30
Sud-Vest Oltenia36
Sud-Est38
Sud - Muntenia40
Nord-Vest43
Centru46
Vest52
Bucuresti - Ilfov112
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Vzhodna Slovenija71
Zahodna Slovenija104
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Východné Slovensko49
Stredné Slovensko58
Západné Slovensko68
Bratislavský kraj178
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Pohjois- ja Itä-Suomi90
Etelä-Suomi100
Länsi-Suomi103
Åland146
Helsinki-Uusimaa156
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Norra Mellansverige101
Östra Mellansverige102
Småland med öarna103
Sydsverige104
Övre Norrland108
Mellersta Norrland112
Västsverige113
Stockholm171
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
West Wales and The Valleys68
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly73
Lincolnshire76
Tees Valley and Durham78
South Yorkshire81
Shropshire and Staffordshire82
Lancashire85
Northumberland and Tyne and Wear86
Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire86
Highlands and Islands86
Devon87
Northern Ireland (UK)87
Merseyside88
Kent89
Cumbria90
East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire90
Essex90
West Midlands92
Dorset and Somerset92
Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire93
North Yorkshire95
Outer London95
East Wales96
Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire99
South Western Scotland99
East Anglia100
Greater Manchester101
West Yorkshire101
Eastern Scotland110
Hampshire and Isle of Wight111
Surrey, East and West Sussex116
Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bristol/Bath area118
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire119
Cheshire128
Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire148
North Eastern Scotland166
Inner London338
Geographical regionGDP per capita in PPS
Jadranska Hrvatska60
Kontinentalna Hrvatska63

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)1.30.22%
Slovenia (SI)2.60.44%
Estonia (EE)3.90.67%
Latvia (LV)5.30.91%
Denmark (DK)5.50.94%
Luxembourg (LU)7.41.27%
Finland (FI)8.61.48%
Hungary (HU)9.01.55%
Croatia (HR)9.81.69%
Belgium (BE)10.31.77%
Lithuania (LT)10.51.81%
Czech Republic (CZ)12.22.10%
Austria (AT)12.82.21%
Sweden (SE)13.62.34%
United Kingdom (UK)14.42.48%
Netherlands (NL)16.02.76%
Portugal (PT)17.93.09%
Spain (ES)23.94.12%
Bulgaria (BG)24.44.21%
Ireland (IE)24.74.26%
Cyprus (CY)25.74.43%
Romania (RO)30.25.21%
Slovakia (SK)32.35.57%
Greece (EL)33.55.78%
Poland (PL)44.57.68%
Italy (IT)46.78.06%
France (FR)51.08.80%
Germany (DE)92.215.92%

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)0.6
Germany (DE)0.9
Ireland (IE)0.9
Greece (EL)0.9
Malta (MT)1.1
Hungary (HU)1.2
Denmark (DK)1.3
Italy (IT)1.4
Lithuania (LT)1.4
Austria (AT)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
France (FR)1.7
Slovakia (SK)1.7
Cyprus (CY)1.8
Romania (RO)1.9
Luxembourg (LU)2.4

No data available for some countries and/or sectors