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Facts and figures on life in the European Union

Size and population

The EU covers over 4 million km² and has 447.7 million inhabitants. By surface area, France is the largest EU country and Malta the smallest.

Source: Eurostat

 

Source: Eurostat

Living standards

Living standards are calculated by measuring the price of certain goods and services in each country relative to income in that country. This is done using a common national currency called the purchasing power standard (PPS). Comparing gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant in PPS provides an overview of living standards across the EU.

Source: Eurostat

 

In 2017, the GDP of the EU-27 represented 16.0% of the world’s GDP, expressed in PPS. China and the United States were the world’s two largest economies, with shares of 16.4% and 16.3% respectively. India was the fourth largest economy, with 6.7% of global GDP, followed by Japan with 4.3%. Germany was the largest EU economy, with a 3.7% share of world GDP.

Source: Eurostat

Education

The amount of money each EU country spends on education varies. Student exchanges in the EU are organised through the Erasmus programme, which helped more than 4 million people to study and train abroad between 2014 and 2020.

Source: Eurostat

 

In addition, the EU actively encourages pupils to learn new languages from an early age, as increased mobility leads to more contact with people from other countries.

Source: Eurostat

Energy and transport

Energy from renewable sources has continued to grow in the EU in recent years. Renewable energy sources in the EU include wind power, solar power, hydropower, tidal power, geothermal energy, biofuels and the renewable parts of waste.

Source: Eurostat

An effective transport system is vital for EU businesses and people. EU transport policy encourages clean, safe and efficient travel throughout Europe.

Transport currently accounts for a quarter of the EU’s greenhouse-gas emissions. The EU is seeking a 90% reduction in these emissions by 2050. Moving to more sustainable transport means putting people first by providing them with healthier, cleaner and more affordable alternatives.