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IP/07/1178

Brussels, 26 July 2007

Urban audit findings offer basis for tuning Europe's engines of growth

Jobs, companies and higher education institutes are concentrated in Europe's cities, which are crucial to the EU's competitiveness in a global economy. But problems of social exclusion and spatial segregation are also significant features of city life. These are among the key conclusions of an independent study conducted for the European Commission based on urban statistics gathered under the "European Urban Audit".

"This is a very good example of a quality study based on valuable information collected and supplied by the Commission services and our partners in the Member States. It can help us to identify and to quantify the challenges we face, the better to target our investments in urban areas," said Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner.

Highlights

Cities as engines of growth

For cities with more than 1 million inhabitants, GDP is 25% higher than in the EU as a whole and 40% higher than the national average. Cities are the engines of economic growth across Europe.

Jobs do not fit: the employment paradox

An employment paradox is ubiquitous in European cities. Despite concentration of jobs in cities, residents do not always benefit from the employment opportunities.

Unemployment highest in deprived areas

There are obvious differences between neighbourhoods. In almost all cities where unemployment is at a level of 10% or higher, unemployment rates are at least double in certain areas and, in the more deprived areas, reach up to 60%.

Jobs concentrated in services

In Western European cities, the service sector is by far the most developed as a source of employment. Of the five largest urban labour markets in the EU 27 (London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid and Rome), service sector employment accounts for between 80% and 90% of all jobs.

City dwellers better educated

City dwellers are much better educated than those living elsewhere in Europe. They are best placed to take advantage of the economic opportunities available, while the poorly educated face the highest risk of exclusion.

The report also notes wide disparities in living space: the average in some cities is almost three times higher than in others. One-person households tend to be clustered in city centres, it adds.

Notes for editors

The audit was initiated by Directorate-General for Regional Policy. It involves 27 National Statistical Offices working together under Eurostat coordination to gather data on more than 300 variables describing the quality of life in European cities. The resulting "State of European Cities report" is the most comprehensive study available on European cities. It builds on a unique collection of urban statistics and provides in-depth analysis of demographic, economic and social data. It incorporates other available information, for example data on education level, civic involvement and the environment.

Context and further information

More information can be found about the "Urban Audit" on www.urbanaudit.org

All cities' profiles may be found at: http://www.urbanaudit.org/CityProfiles.aspx

The full report of the study may be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/urban2/audit_en.htm

Mailbox: urban-audit@ec.europa.eu

Further information about European Regional Policy: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/index_en.htm


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