level data. It also enables an analysis, for example, of how the financial crisis has affected regions across the EU. It indicates, among other things, in which regions employment, population and GDP have decreased the most and in which there have been increases. It also shows how poverty has affected the population differently depending on whether they live in a densely or more thinly populated area.
Between 2008 and 2011, employment rates for people aged 20 to 64 fell in almost three-quarters of the 272 NUTS level 2 regions. The largest falls were observed in Yuzhen tsentralen in Bulgaria (-9.7 percentage points between 2008 and 2011), Comunidad Valenciana in Spain and Latvia (both -9.5 pp), Border, Midland & Western in Ireland (-9.2 pp), Murcia in Spain (-8.4 pp) as well as Severoiztochen in Bulgaria, Southern and Eastern in Ireland and Illes Balears in Spain (all three -8.2 pp). Among the 43 regions where the employment rate decreased by five percentage points or more between 2008 and 2011, 15 were in Spain, nine in Greece, six in Bulgaria, three in Portugal, both regions in Ireland, both regions in Croatia, two in Romania, one in France as well as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The largest increases in employment rates were registered in Corse in France (+8.3 pp), followed by the German regions of Sachsen-Anhalt (+4.5 pp), Berlin (+3.6 pp), Kassel and Lüneburg (both +3.4 pp) and Braunschweig (+3.3 pp). Among the 36 regions which had an increase in their employment rate of more than one percentage point during the same period, 25 were in Germany, three each in France and Poland, two in Romania, one in the United Kingdom as well as Malta and Luxembourg.
Largest population decrease in Latvian and Lithuanian regions in 2011
Among the 1 315 NUTS level 3 regions, the highest population growth in 2011 was observed in Münster (+41.8 persons per 1000 inhabitants) and Darmstadt (+31.7‰) in Germany, Ilfov in Romania (+31.5‰), Melilla in Spain (+30.8‰), Cyprus (+26.2‰), Luxembourg (+25.1‰) and Luton in the United Kingdom (+24.3‰).
The regions with the largest declines in population were İiaulių apskritis (-22.7 persons per 1000 inhabitants) and Utenos apskritis (-22.5‰) in Lithuania, Latgale in Latvia (-21.5‰), Alytaus apskritis (-20.4‰) and Tauragės apskritis (-20.0‰) in Lithuania and Ioannina in Greece (-19.8‰).
Greater risk of poverty and social exclusion in thinly populated areas
In 2011, 121 million people, or 24% of the population, in the EU28 were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. This means that they were at least in one of the following three conditions: at-risk-of-poverty, severely materially deprived or living in households with very low work intensity. The reduction of the number of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU is one of the key targets of the Europe 2020 strategy.
This indicator can be analysed by degree of urbanisation. This is an aggregation of small administrative units, which corresponds to commune level in most countries. These are classified according to their population density and total population as densely, intermediate or thinly populated. In the EU28 in 2011, 29% of the population in thinly populated areas were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared with 23% in densely populated areas and 21% in intermediate density areas. In seventeen Member States (most of them located in Eastern and Southern Europe), the thinly populated areas had the highest at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rates, in eight Member States (mainly in Western Europe), it was the densely populated areas and in three Member States the intermediate density areas.
The largest differences between the thinly and the densely populated regions were observed in Bulgaria and Romania (both 19 percentage points higher in thinly populated regions than in densely), Poland (13 pp), Hungary and Croatia (both 12 pp).