How is the EU doing compared with the other major economies of the world?

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The FINANCIAL — Population, living conditions, health, education & training, labour market, economy & finance, trade, industry & services, research & communication, transport, agriculture, environment and energy: the 2015 edition of the Eurostat publication “The EU in the world” compares the European Union (EU) with the 15 non-EU G-20 countries across thirteen statistical fields using a range of European and international statistics.

The G-20 comprises the world’s major advanced and emerging economies. It includes the EU, four EU Member States (Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom) and 15 countries from the rest of the world (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the United States). Together the members of the G-20 covered over 61% of the world’s land area, were home to 64% of the world population and generated 85% of the global GDP in 2013.

Today, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, releases the latest edition of the publication “The EU in the world”, which provides a portrait of the EU, considered as a single entity, in relation to the other major economies of the world. For many indicators the total for the world is also included.

7% of the world population live in the EU

With 506 million inhabitants in 2013, the EU accounted for just over 7% of the world population (7.1 billion inhabitants). Only China (1 357 million inhabitants or 19.1% of the world population) and India (1 252 mn or 17.6%) were more populous, while the United States (316 mn or 4.4%), Indonesia (250 mn or 3.5%) and Brazil (200 mn or 2.8%) accounted for a lower share of the world population than the EU.

Population projections indicate that the world population could increase by almost 3 billion people in the next decades, from 7.1 bn in 2013 to almost 10.0 bn in 2060. At that time, India (1 644 million inhabitants or 16.5% of the world population) should be the most populous country of the world, ahead of China (1 313 mn or 13.2%). By 2060, most G-20 members are expected to see their share of world population decreasing. In total, the share of G- 20 members together would drop to just over half (52.3%) of the world population in 2060, compared with almost two-thirds (64.3%) in 2013. The share of the EU in world population is also expected to decrease in the future, from 7.1% in 2013 to 5.3% in 2060.

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The EU has the second highest old age dependency ratio among G20 members

In 2012, the EU had a life expectancy at birth reaching 80 years. Japan (84 years), Australia (83 years), Canada (82 years) and South Korea (81 years) had the highest life expectancies among the non-EU G-20 members, and South Africa (59 years), India (66 years), Russia (69 years) and Indonesia (71 years) the lowest.

Old age dependency, measured as the ratio of the number of older persons (aged 65 and over) to the number of persons of working age (from 15 to 64), was by far the highest in 2013 in Japan (40.5%), followed by the EU (27.5%), Canada (22.2%), Australia (21.5%) and the United States (21.0%).

By 2060, the old age dependency ratio is expected to rise drastically in every G-20 member. With an old age dependency ratio expected to be over 70%, South Korea (73.5%) and Japan (73.3%) would have by 2060 a population structure where there would be 7 older persons for every 10 persons of working age. In the EU, the old age dependency ratio is expected to almost double by 2060, from 27.5% in 2013 to 50.2%.

The EU accounts for almost a quarter of the world GDP

While accounting for 7.1% of the world population, the EU generated in 2013 almost a quarter (23.7%) of the world GPD. The United States (22.2%), China (12.1%) and Japan (6.5%) had also a significant weight in world GDP.

The United States and China were also in 2014 the two main trading partners of the EU, accounting respectively for 15.3% and 13.8% of total extra-EU trade in goods and for 28.5% and 4.1% of total extra-EU trade in services.

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In research and development, South Korea (4.04%), Japan (3.39%), the United States (2.79%) and Australia (2.39%) had higher shares of R&D expenditure relative to GDP than that of the EU (2.02%).

As regards public finances, the highest ratio of general government debt to GDP in 2013 among G-20 members was registered by Japan (243.2%), well ahead of the United States, (104.2%), Canada (88.8%) and the EU (85.4%). In contrast, the lowest ratios were recorded in Saudi Arabia (2.7%), Russia (13.9%), Indonesia (26.1%) and Australia (28.6%).

Among the G-20 members: Canada and Japan on top for internet use

Other areas, such as communication and transport also show very different patterns among the G-20 countries. Less than 20% of the reporting population in 2013 used the internet in India (15%) and Indonesia (16%), while this was the case for more than 80% of the reporting population in Canada and Japan (both 86%), South Korea (85%), the United States (84%) and Australia (83%). At EU level, the share of internet users stood at 77% in 2013.

Among the non-EU G-20 members, the number of passenger cars per thousand inhabitants ranged in 2013 from fewer than 1 car per 10 persons in India (20‰), Indonesia (77‰) and China (91‰) to more than 1 car per 2 inhabitants in the EU (567‰), Japan (603‰), Canada (635‰), Australia (722‰) and the United States (790‰).

The EU among the G-20 leaders for environment and renewable energy

As regards the area of environment, the EU registered carbon dioxide emissions of 7.4 tonnes per inhabitant in 2012. Australia (17.5 tonnes), the United States (17.1), Saudi Arabia (17.0 in 2010), Canada (15.8), South Korea (12.5), Russia (11.6), Japan (10.0) and South Africa (9.0 in 2010) all generated more emissions per inhabitant than the EU.

With 27.8% of gross electricity generated from renewables and waste, the EU was also among the top countries for renewable energy, with only Brazil (82.5%) and Canada (63.3%) having higher proportions.


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