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Based on first preliminary estimates for 2012,
gross domestic product (GDP) per capita expressed in Purchasing Power Standards
(PPS) varied from 47% to 271% of the EU27 average across the member states.
While Ireland was 30% above the EU average for GDP per capita, a more credible
metric that is not distorted by the foreign multinational sector, is Actual
Individual Consumption (AIC) per capita and Ireland is below the average at a
similar level to Italy.
The highest level of GDP per capita in the EU27 was recorded in Luxembourg (part
of its working population lives beyond its borders) with a level of more than
two and a half times the EU27 average. Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands and
Sweden were around 30% above the average. Denmark, Germany, Belgium and Finland
were between 15% and 25% above the average, while the United Kingdom and France
were around 10% above.
In Italy and Spain, GDP per capita was just below the EU27 average. Cyprus was
around 10% below the average, while Malta, Slovenia, the Czech Republic,
Slovakia, Greece and Portugal were between nearly 15% and 25% lower. Lithuania,
Estonia, Poland, Hungary and Latvia were between 30% and 40% lower than the
average, while Romania and Bulgaria were more than 50% below the average.
These figures for GDP per capita, expressed in PPS, are published by Eurostat,
the statistics office of the European Union. They cover the 27 EU Member States,
three EFTA countries, one acceding state, four candidate countries and two
potential candidate countries.
Ireland: GDP or GNP? Which is the better measure of
Actual Individual Consumption per capita in the member states ranged from 48%
to 141% of the EU27 average
While GDP per capita is often used as an indicator of countries' level of
welfare, it is not the only such indicator. An alternative welfare indicator,
better adapted to reflect the situation of households, is Actual Individual
Consumption (AIC) per capita.
Generally, levels of AIC per capita are more homogeneous than those of GDP but
still there are substantial differences between the member states. In 2012, AIC
per capita expressed in PPS ranged between 48% of the EU average in Romania to
141% in Luxembourg.
Eurostat says the Purchasing Power Standard (PPS)
is an artificial currency unit that eliminates price level differences between
countries. Thus one PPS buys the same volume of goods and services in all
countries. This unit allows meaningful volume comparisons of economic indicators
Actual individual consumption 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 by 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
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