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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 508 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.

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Surface area in thousands of square kilometres

Country Surface area (1 000km²)
Malta 0.3
Luxembourg 2.6
Cyprus 9.3
Slovenia 20.3
Belgium 30.5
Netherlands 41.5
Denmark 42.9
Estonia 45.2
Slovakia 49.0
Croatia 56.5
Latvia 64.6
Lithuania 65.3
Ireland 69.8
Czech Republic 78.9
Austria 83.9
Portugal 92.2
Hungary 93.0
Bulgaria 111.0
Greece 132.0
Romania 238.4
United Kingdom 248.5
Italy 302.1
Poland 312.7
Finland 338.4
Germany 357.3
Sweden 438.6
Spain 506.0
France 632.8
Total surface 4463.6

Source: Eurostat

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Population by country (Total EU population : 508 450 856)

Country Total population Population %
Malta 429344 0,08%
Luxembourg 562958 0,11%
Cyprus 847008 0,17%
Estonia 1313271 0,26%
Latvia 1986096 0,39%
Slovenia 2062874 0,41%
Lithuania 2921262 0,57%
Croatia 4225316 0,83%
Ireland 4628949 0,91%
Slovakia 5421349 1,07%
Finland 5471753 1,08%
Denmark 5659715 1,11%
Bulgaria 7202198 1,42%
Austria 8576261 1,69%
Sweden 9747355 1,92%
Hungary 9855571 1,94%
Portugal 10374822 2,04%
Czech Republic 10538275 2,07%
Greece 10858018 2,14%
Belgium 11258434 2,21%
Netherlands 16900726 3,32%
Romania 19870647 3,91%
Poland 38005614 7,47%
Spain 46449565 9,14%
Italy 60795612 11,96%
United Kingdom 64875165 12,76%
France 66415161 13,06%
Germany 81197537 15,97%
Total population 508450856 100%

Source: Eurostat

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.

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GDP per capita in PPS

Country GDP per capita in PPS
Bulgaria 47
Romania 55
Croatia 59
Latvia 64
Hungary 68
Poland 68
Greece 73
Lithuania 75
Estonia 76
Slovakia 77
Portugal 78
Cyprus 82
Slovenia 83
Malta 84
Czech Republic 85
Spain 91
Italy 96
France 107
United Kingdom 109
Finland 110
Belgium 119
Sweden 123
Germany 124
Denmark 125
Austria 130
Netherlands 131
Ireland 134
Luxembourg 266

Source: Eurostat

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.

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

Geographical region GDP per capita in PPS
Severozapaden 29
Mayotte 30
Severen tsentralen 32
Yuzhen tsentralen 32
Nord-Est 34
Poranesna jugoslovenska Republika Makedonija 36
Severoiztochen 38
Yugoiztochen 39
Sud-Vest Oltenia 40
Észak-Magyarország 41
Észak-Alföld 42
Sud - Muntenia 43
Dél-Dunántúl 45
Dél-Alföld 46
Lubelskie 47
Podkarpackie 47
Nord-Vest 47
Warminsko-Mazurskie 48
Swietokrzyskie 49
Podlaskie 49
Sud-Est 49
Centru 51
Anatoliki Makedonia, Thraki 52
Ipeiros 52
Východné Slovensko 52
Opolskie 54
Dytiki Ellada 55
Kujawsko-Pomorskie 55
Thessalia 56
Guyane 56
Zachodniopomorskie 56
Lubuskie 56
Vest 56
Jadranska Hrvatska 57
Kentriki Makedonia 58
Voreio Aigaio 58
Közép-Dunántúl 59
Malopolskie 59
Kontinentalna Hrvatska 60
Calabria 60
Stredné Slovensko 60
Peloponnisos 61
Latvija 62
Lódzkie 62
Severozápad 63
Kriti 63
Extremadura 63
Campania 63
Puglia 64
Sicilia 64
Pomorskie 64
Norte 64
Ionia Nisia 66
Vzhodna Slovenija 66
Strední Morava 67
Sterea Ellada 67
Nyugat-Dunántúl 67
Centro (PT) 67
Severovýchod 68
Andalucía 68
Moravskoslezsko 69
Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla (ES) 69
Alentejo 69
West Wales and The Valleys 69
Dytiki Makedonia 70
La Réunion 70
Basilicata 70
Slaskie 70
Região Autónoma dos Açores (PT) 70
Západné Slovensko 71
Castilla-la Mancha 72
Wielkopolskie 72
Guadeloupe 73
Lietuva 73
Região Autónoma da Madeira (PT) 73
Yugozapaden 74
Strední Cechy 74
Jihozápad 74
Sardegna 74
Tees Valley and Durham 74
Eesti 75
Región de Murcia 75
Molise 75
Dolnoslaskie 75
South Yorkshire 75
Ciudad Autónoma de Ceuta (ES) 76
Martinique 76
Prov. Luxembourg (BE) 77
Algarve 77
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly 77
Prov. Hainaut 78
Notio Aigaio 78
Canarias (ES) 78
Jihovýchod 79
Comunidad Valenciana 79
Galicia 80
Principado de Asturias 80
Franche-Comté 80
Outer London - East and North East 80
Picardie 81
Lorraine 81
Limousin 81
Merseyside 81
Lincolnshire 81
Cantabria 82
Languedoc-Roussillon 82
Lancashire 82
East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire 82
Shropshire and Staffordshire 82
Northern Ireland (UK) 82
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 83
Northumberland and Tyne and Wear 83
Prov. Namur 84
Kypros 84
Chemnitz 85
Castilla y León 85
Devon 85
Sjælland 86
Basse-Normandie 86
Malta 86
Sachsen-Anhalt 87
Thüringen 87
Border, Midland and Western 87
Nord - Pas-de-Calais 87
Auvergne 87
Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire 87
West Midlands 87
Essex 87
Kent 87
Prov. Liège 88
Brandenburg 88
Lüneburg 88
Poitou-Charentes 88
Abruzzo 88
Umbria 89
Dorset and Somerset 89
South Western Scotland 89
Centre (FR) 90
Bourgogne 90
Bretagne 90
Corse 90
Burgenland (AT) 90
West Yorkshire 91
East Wales 91
Greater Manchester 92
Highlands and Islands 92
Dresden 93
Champagne-Ardenne 93
Marche 93
Pohjois- ja Itä-Suomi 93
Haute-Normandie 94
Cumbria 94
Outer London - South 94
Illes Balears 95
Aquitaine 95
Drenthe 95
Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire 95
Pays de la Loire 96
Friesland (NL) 96
Zahodna Slovenija 96
North Yorkshire 97
Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire 97
Prov. Limburg (BE) 98
Trier 98
La Rioja 98
Midi-Pyrénées 98
Eastern Scotland 98
Alsace 99
Etelä-Suomi 99
Attiki 100
Aragón 100
Flevoland 100
East Anglia 100
Zeeland 101
Länsi-Suomi 101
Norra Mellansverige 101
Leipzig 102
Piemonte 102
Schleswig-Holstein 103
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur 103
Hedmark og Oppland 103
Friuli-Venezia Giulia 104
Koblenz 105
Liguria 105
Área Metropolitana de Lisboa 106
Småland med öarna 106
Sydsverige 106
Cataluña 107
Toscana 107
Közép-Magyarország 107
Overijssel 107
Niederösterreich 107
Mazowieckie 107
Nordjylland 108
Gießen 108
Münster 108
Rhône-Alpes 108
Limburg (NL) 108
Sør-Østlandet 108
Prov. Oost-Vlaanderen 109
Veneto 109
Östra Mellansverige 109
Mellersta Norrland 109
Weser-Ems 110
Gelderland 110
Kärnten 110
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire 110
Hampshire and Isle of Wight 111
Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bristol/Bath area 111
Oberfranken 112
Arnsberg 112
Comunidad Foral de Navarra 112
Syddanmark 113
Midtjylland 114
Surrey, East and West Sussex 115
Prov. West-Vlaanderen 116
Kassel 116
Lazio 116
Saarland 117
Steiermark 117
Berlin 118
Rheinhessen-Pfalz 118
País Vasco 118
Övre Norrland 118
Outer London - West and North West 118
Västsverige 119
Freiburg 120
Niederbayern 120
Hannover 120
Emilia-Romagna 120
Detmold 121
Nord-Norge 121
Cheshire 123
Schwaben 124
Comunidad de Madrid 124
Unterfranken 125
Oberpfalz 126
Provincia Autonoma di Trento 126
Bucuresti - Ilfov 127
Prov. Vlaams-Brabant 129
Trøndelag 129
Prov. Brabant Wallon 130
Lombardia 130
Köln 131
Zuid-Holland 132
Düsseldorf 133
Valle d'Aosta/Vallée d'Aoste 133
Oberösterreich 133
Tübingen 134
Mittelfranken 134
Noord-Brabant 134
Braunschweig 135
Karlsruhe 139
Tirol 139
Vorarlberg 139
Prov. Antwerpen 141
Åland 142
Vestlandet 147
Southern and Eastern 148
Helsinki-Uusimaa 149
Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire 149
Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano/Bozen 150
Agder og Rogaland 150
Salzburg 154
Utrecht 155
Hovedstaden 157
Stuttgart 159
Bremen 160
Darmstadt 162
Noord-Holland 162
Wien 163
North Eastern Scotland 163
Praha 173
Stockholm 173
Oberbayern 178
Île de France 181
Bratislavský kraj 187
Groningen 192
Oslo og Akershus 194
Inner London - East 198
Hamburg 204
Rég. Bruxelles / Brussels Gewest 211
Luxembourg 264
Inner London - West 528

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

Source: Eurostat

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.

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

Country Total students in thousands Students %
Malta 1.4 0,21%
Slovenia 2.7 0,41%
Estonia 4.7 0,71%
Denmark 5.9 0,89%
Latvia 7.3 1,10%
Luxembourg 7.8 1,18%
Finland 9.1 1,37%
Hungary 9.7 1,46%
Croatia 10.0 1,51%
Belgium 11.8 1,78%
Czech Republic 13.0 1,96%
Austria 15.2 2,29%
Sweden 15.2 2,29%
Lithuania 15.5 2,34%
United Kingdom 17.4 2,62%
Netherlands 19.0 2,86%
Portugal 19.0 2,86%
Ireland 25.3 3,81%
Cyprus 25.5 3,84%
Bulgaria 27.2 4,10%
Spain 29.6 4,46%
Slovakia 35.4 5,33%
Romania 37.5 5,65%
Greece 38.2 5,76%
Poland 43.5 6,55%
Italy 54.5 8,21%
France 55.1 8,30%
Germany 107.2 16,15%

Source: Eurostat

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.

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

Country Total languages
Portugal 0.8
Denmark 0.9
Germany 0.9
Ireland 0.9
Greece 0.9
Hungary 1.2
Netherlands 1.2
Lithuania 1.3
Austria 1.3
Italy 1.4
Czech Republic 1.5
Croatia 1.5
Bulgaria 1.6
Latvia 1.6
Poland 1.6
Slovenia 1.6
Sweden 1.6
Belgium 1.7
Cyprus 1.7
Malta 1.7
France 1.8
Slovakia 1.8
Estonia 2.0
Romania 2.0
Luxembourg 2.4

No data available for some countries and/or sectors

Source: Eurostat