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Eurostat's Statistical Treasure Trove
Volume 38, Number 5 - September/October 2014

Ever have a need for European statistics? Whether your research concerns agriculture, economics, employment, markets, social sciences, taxation— or anything, really—requiring reliable international data, Eurostat provides a treasure trove of statistical information.

As an excellent entry point to data on European matters, Eurostat ( contains an enormous amount of information and statistics from across the European Union membership countries, plus a few other nations. In this article I use the example of researching the elderly population in the EU to illustrate some of the highlights of the Eurostat pages.

Although the name Eurostat implies it covers EU countries, it also quite often includes some other nonmember European countries such as Iceland, Norway, and occasionally, even non-European countries such as the U.S. and Japan.


Data is collected in the Member States by their statistical authorities and reported to Eurostat. This influences not only the contents of the Eurostat reports and database but also the contents and (to a lesser extent) the structure of the national databases. All national statistics in Europe have to report the same data and the same tables to Eurostat, and the same tables and formats are often used on their national statistics sites as well.

The main advantage of using Eurostat is that the data from Eurostat is available in one place, all in English (no need to struggle with French or Italian translations), and with the same data layout across the countries. All data from Eurostat is free of charge, and you can create a login that allows you to create larger datasets.

There are some disadvantages of Eurostat—the information you find is not always the most updated data available. The processing time is long, which means local statistics often have more recent information available. Another disadvantage is in the quality of data, which varies across the different countries. (This implies that you may have to sanity check the results to see if the results make sense. It may be worth comparing the results against the size/population/economy of the countries in this process.)


The contents in Eurostat are communicated through different types of reports and through the database where you can modify the tables and download the results in different formats.

The most common reports are:

  • News releases with short announcements of new statistics. These one-page announcements are published about 150 times per year.
  • Statistics in Focus and Data in Focus, which are small, eight- to 12-page reports with information about the main results of the Eurostat surveys.
  • Statistical books, which are more in depth publications with data, text, graphs, maps, and analysis within the specific topic. The length of these publications is usually more than 100 pages. One of the key books is the annual Europe in Figures , which gives a thorough introduction to key areas in the European Union.
  • Pocketbooks with short summaries of different topics. These contain mainly graphs and tables.

All of these publications give good overviews and detailed insights to the structure and mechanisms of different topics. Tabs at the top of the homepage take you to lists of the most recent Publications and of Statistics. Click the magnifying glass to search.

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Anja Chemnitz Thygesen owns ACT, a Danish information research company that specializes in market and company research in the Scandinavian markets, and is part of OneAnswer, a pan-European network of business researchers.


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