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Europe in Figures – Eurostat Yearbook 2012
added: 2012-05-14

What share of those aged 18 to 24 left school early and what proportion of young people in the EU have completed at least upper secondary education? How much do households in the EU spend on food and on housing and clothing? How many mobile phone subscriptions are there per inhabitant and how many text messages are sent per person? The answers to these questions and many more can be found in the 16th edition of the Eurostat yearbook, published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

The 2012 yearbook has thirteen chapters on different statistical areas: economy and finance; population; health; education and training; labour market; living conditions and social protection; industry, trade and services; agriculture, forestry and fisheries; international trade; transport; environment; energy; and science and technology.

Highest proportion of early leavers from education found in Malta, Portugal and Spain

Early leavers from education and training are defined as persons aged 18 to 24 who have completed at most lower secondary education and who have not received any education or training in the last four weeks. The Europe 2020 strategy and the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training have set a target of 10% for 2020 for this indicator. In 2010, the percentage was 14% on average in the EU27, and varied among the Member States, from 5% in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Poland to 37% in Malta, 29% in Portugal and 28% in Spain. In the EU27, the proportion was 12% for women and 16% for men, with higher shares for men in all Member States, except Bulgaria and Slovakia.

Data on educational attainment show that 79% of those aged 20 to 24 in the EU27 had completed at least upper secondary education in 2010. The percentages varied among the Member States from 53% in Malta, 59% in Portugal, 61% in Spain and 68% in Denmark to 93% in Slovakia, 92% in the Czech Republic and 91% in Poland. On average in the EU27, 82% of women and 76% of men had completed at least upper secondary education in 2010. The percentage for women was higher than for men in all Member States except Bulgaria and Slovakia.

The age of students in tertiary education depends on many factors: whether they postpone starting tertiary education either by choice (e.g. by taking a gap year between secondary and tertiary education) or obligation (e.g. for military service), the length of the courses studied and the extent to which mature students return to education later in life. The median age in tertiary education was 22.1 in the EU27 in 2009, with the highest median ages observed in Sweden (25.3), Denmark (25.2), Finland (24.5) and Austria (23.8), and the lowest in Ireland (20.2), France (20.5), Belgium and Malta (both 20.7).

Almost a quarter of household consumption expenditure on housing

Consumption can be divided into different categories of goods and services. In the table below, the most important categories are presented, covering almost 80% of total final consumption expenditure of households in the EU27.

In a large majority of Member States, housing accounted for the largest share of final consumption expenditure of households in 2010. The exceptions were Lithuania, Malta, Portugal and Romania, where food had the highest share.

For housing, the shares varied from 12% in Malta, 15% in Lithuania and 16% in Portugal to 30% in Denmark and 27% in Finland, the Czech Republic and Sweden, compared with an EU27 average of 24%. It is interesting to note that on an EU level, transport accounted for the same share as food (13%). For food, the proportions ranged from 9% in Luxembourg and the United Kingdom to 29% in Romania and 26% in Lithuania. For restaurants and hotels, the shares varied from 3% in Lithuania and Poland to 17% in Spain, while for clothing and footwear, the proportions ranged from 3% in Hungary and the Czech Republic to 8% in Italy and Lithuania.

Largest number of SMS messages per inhabitant in Lithuania and Ireland

In recent years, the way in which European citizens communicate has changed significantly, from traditional letters sent by post to electronic communication, for example text messages sent by mobile phones.

There were 125 mobile phone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in the EU27 in 2009, indicating that many inhabitants had more than one subscription. The highest shares were observed in Greece (180 mobile phone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants), Italy and Portugal (both 151).
There were 580 SMS messages sent per inhabitant in the EU27 in 2009. This number varied considerably between Member States, reflecting cultural differences, but also differences in contracts and prices, with the highest in Lithuania (2 800 SMS messages per inhabitant), Ireland (2 700), Denmark and Portugal (both 2 400).

As regards a more traditional way of communicating across the EU27, there were on average 3 900 inhabitants per post office in 2010, up from 3 300 in 2004. In 2010, the largest number of persons per post office were recorded in Belgium (7 900), the Netherlands (7 600) and Greece (7 100).

Source: Eurostat

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