What are the most and least prosperous EU countries?

Although the Visegrád Four countries of Hungary, Czechia, Poland, and Slovakia find themselves below the EU average when it comes to prosperity, they also achieved some of the highest economic growth among EU member states

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: forsal.pl

A report into the levels of actual individual consumption (AIC) in the European Union used as a measure of material prosperity of households showed significant differences across EU member states in 2020.

According to Eurostat, the member state with the highest AIC index per capita last year was Luxembourg with a score 45 percent above the EU average. Germany followed in second at 24 percent above the average with Denmark, the Netherlands and Austria making up the top five with scores 22 percent, 17 percent and 16 percent above the bloc’s average respectively.

In total, nine EU member states had an AIC index higher than the EU average.

The lowest score was recorded in Bulgaria, languishing 39 percent below the EU average. Other countries that performed poorly included Croatia (32 percent below), Hungary and Latvia both at 30 percent below average, and Slovakia at 29 percent below average. Poland also found itself among the countries with an AIC per capita lower than the EU average, at 17 percent below the average.

Source: Eurostat

Within the last three years, the AIC per capita compared to the EU average has changed in the majority of member states. Clear growth was recorded in Romania, where the index increased up to 80 percent of the EU average in 2020 compared to 2018. Second in terms of growth came Denmark – from 117 percent in 2018 to 122 percent in 2020.

Poland is the country with the third highest AIC per capita growth (from 78 percent in 2018 to 83 percent in 2020) and Hungary (from 65 percent to 70 percent).

The most noticeable drops occurred in Spain and Luxembourg, both down 7 percent last year on 2018’s score, closely followed by Malta and Ireland down 5 percent, with Greece and Italy’s scores both dropping by 4 percent.

The report’s data also shows clear differences between EU member states when it comes to GDP per capita which is used to measure economic activity.

Luxembourg and Ireland recorded the highest level of GDP per capita expressed by the purchasing power standard (PPS) – 163 and 109 percent respectively above the EU average.

The countries with the next highest GDP per capita were Denmark (35 percent above the EU average), the Netherlands (32 percent), Austria (24 percent), Sweden and Germany (both 23 percent above the average).

At the other end of the scale, the countries which recorded the lowest GDP per capita were Bulgaria (45 percent below the EU average), Greece (38 percent), Croatia (36 percent), Slovakia and Latvia (both 30 percent below the EU average).

Poland has a GDP per capita 24 percent below the EU average.

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