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News : EU Economy Last Updated: Feb 9, 2011 - 1:37 PM

EU GDP per Capita: Netherlands at 31% above average; Ireland at 27% above average but individual consumption at average
By Finfacts Team
Feb 9, 2011 - 3:47 AM

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EU GDP per Capita: Eurostat, the European Union's statistics agency, on Tuesday issued updated data on GDP (gross domestic product) per capita in the EU 27. The Netherlands was 31% above the average in 2009 and while Ireland was 27% above the average,   individual consumption per capita is a better measure for Ireland.

Luxembourg's high GDP per capita level arises from the anomaly that a large portion of its workforce lives outside the jurisdiction of the duchy.

In 2009, Bulgaria and Romania had the lowest  levels of GDP per inhabitant among EU member countries, at less than half the EU average. The Netherlands was 31% above that average, surpassed only by Luxembourg. Levels of actual individual consumption (AIC) were somewhat more homogeneous, but still revealed very substantial differences across EU member countries. As in previous years, Eurostat said Denmark had the highest price level in the EU.

Eurostat says in 2009, Austria was the fourth richest EU member country, followed by Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Belgium.

Relative volumes of consumption per capita

The statistics agency says Ireland, which as recently as 2007 was ranked second among the EU member countries, falls back very significantly from 2007 to 2009. This is primarily due to the development of its nominal GDP, which dipped by almost 16% between these two years. While Ireland does maintain its position as one of the richest EU member countries in terms of GDP per capita, this is not fully reflected in the country's level of consumption.

Actual individual consumption (AIC) per inhabitant consists of goods and services actually consumed by individuals, irrespective of whether these goods and services are purchased and paid for by households, by government or non-profit institutions. In international volume comparisons, AIC is often seen as the preferable measure, since it is not influenced by the fact that the organisation of certain important services consumed by households, like health and education services, differs a lot across countries. For example if dental services are paid for by the government in one country, and by households in another.

This measure is useful for Ireland as GDP includes the profits of the dominant foreign-owned sector, giving a GNP (gross national product) level of about 20% lower whereas in most countries, there is not significant variation between GDP and GNP.

Comparative price levels in Europe

Apart from Denmark, other countries with price levels more than 20%  higher than the EU-27 average include Ireland, Luxembourg and Finland, as well as EFTA (European Free Trade Area) member countries Norway and Switzerland. Belgium, France, Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany.

Spain, Greece and the United Kingdom all have price levels slightly below the EU average.

Eurostat: GDP per capita, consumption per capita and comparative price levels

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