How close are you to being the average European?

How close are you to being the average European?
By Chris Harris
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A comprehensive report on life in the EU has shed light on what the average European looks like today. People in the EU, which Brussels calls a


A comprehensive report on life in the EU has shed light on what the average European looks like today.

People in the EU, which Brussels calls a ‘uniquely rich snapshot’ of the bloc’s population, concentrates on demographic trends, combining data from the latest census and other statistical surveys.

Here we look at the key indicators from the report, to piece together the puzzle of what makes up the average European.

Age: 42.2 years

The EU has the fastest ageing population in the world, after Japan, according to Eurostat, Brussels’ data office.

It means in 2014 the median age of an EU citizen was 42.2 years old, up six years compared with two decades ago.

Ireland had the youngest median age in 2014, at 36 years, while Germany, with 45.6 years was the oldest.

Lithuania has aged the fastest over the last 20 years, its median age rising by 8.9 years between 1994 and 2014.

Sweden’s median age, meanwhile, saw the smallest increase, rising just 2.5 years.

Family status: Married

More than seven out of 10 families in the EU were made up of married couples, with or without children, according to latest census data.

The figures, from 2011, show Cyprus had the biggest proportion of families with married couples, with 83.9 percent, while Estonia had the lowest, with 52.5 percent.

While 71.4 percent of families in the EU consisted of married couples, 16 percent were made up of just one parent and 12.6 percent were ‘consensual couples’, defined as two people living in the same household but who are neither married or in a registered partnership.

The biggest proportion of lone-parent families was in Latvia, with 33.4 percent, with the smallest in Cyprus, with 9.9 percent.

In 2001 lone parent households made up nine percent of all households with dependent children, according to Eurostat data.

Household size: 2.4 persons

The average number of people in a EU household in 2014 was 2.4 persons, according to Eurostat data, unchanged since 2005.

Croatia, with 2.8 persons in 2014, had the most-crowded households, while Germany and Sweden both had the lowest average, with two persons.

Home built between 1946-1980

More than four in 10 of EU homes were built in the post-WWII period, up until 1980. Romania has the highest proportion of dwellings constructed in this area, with 59.1 percent, while Ireland had the lowest, with just 22.9 percent. The latter is perhaps down that more than one-in-five homes in Ireland have been built in the 21st century.

The United Kingdom, meanwhile, has the biggest proportion of homes built before 1946, with 37.8 percent.

Own your home

Eurostat says 70 percent of households in the EU were owner-occupied in 2013, while 30 percent were lived in by tenants.


More than 90 percent of homes in Romania, Lithuania and Slovakia were lived-in by their owners.

At the other end of the scale, Germany had the highest proportion of rental properties, with 47.4 percent of households in this category.

Living in a city

The largest group of people in the EU, 41.6 percent in 2014, live in a city, with 31 percent living in towns and suburbs and 27.5 percent in rural areas.

Malta had the most city-dwellers, with 89 percent of the population living in cities, with Luxembourg the lowest, at 14.5 percent.

The degree of urbanisation in the EU has been falling. In 2007, when the bloc consisted of 27 countries, 48.5 percent of the population lived in cities, compared with 41.6 percent last year.


Working in public administration…

The sector covering jobs in public administration, defence, education, health and social work was the most popular among EU natives, according to Eurostat.

It says 25 percent of working people, that were born in the EU, had a job in this sector in 2011, the latest year for which data is available.

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