Unexpectedly Intriguing!
December 21, 2005

Economically speaking, 2004 was a momentous year for the European Union, as the EU added ten new nations encompassing nearly 75 million people to its ranks. Political Calculations has mined the economic and population data for the world's Number 2 economic behemoth (after the United States) to produce the dynamic table below, which you may sort from A to Z, highest to lowest, richest to poorest (and vice-versa) by clicking upon the individual column headings. To make things more interesting, we've broken out the 2004 economic performance for the 15 members of the European Union prior to expansion (marked as "EU15" in the Group column below), the 10 new members who joined in May 2004 (marked as "EU25"), and finally the entire combined colossus (marked as "All"). Each nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been adjusted for Purchasing Price Parity (PPP) with the results presented in Year 2004 U.S. dollars (USD).

European Union 2004 GDP-PPP, Population and GDP-PPP per Capita
Country Group GDP-PPP (billions $USD) Population (2004 est.) GDP-PPP per Capita ($USD)
Austria EU15 255.9 8174762 31304
Belgium EU15 316.2 10348276 30556
Cyprus EU25 20.3 775927 26098
Czech Republic EU25 172.2 10246178 16806
Denmark EU15 174.4 5413392 32216
Estonia EU25 19.2 1341664 14333
Finland EU15 151.2 5214512 28996
France EU15 1737.0 60424213 28747
Germany EU15 2362.0 82424609 28656
Greece EU15 226.4 10647529 21263
Hungary EU25 149.3 10032375 14882
Ireland EU15 126.4 3969558 31842
Italy EU15 1609.0 58057477 27714
Latvia EU25 26.5 2306306 11503
Liechtenstein EU15 0.8 33436 24674
Lithuania EU25 45.2 3607899 12536
Luxembourg EU15 27.3 462690 58938
Malta EU25 7.2 396851 18201
Netherlands EU15 481.1 16318199 29482
Poland EU25 463.0 38626349 11987
Portugal EU15 188.7 10524145 17930
Slovakia EU25 78.9 5423567 14546
Slovenia EU25 39.4 2011473 19593
Spain EU15 937.6 40280780 23277
Sweden EU15 255.4 8986400 28421
United Kingdom EU15 1782.0 60270708 29567
EU15 EU15 10631.4 381550686 27864
EU25 EU25 1021.3 74768589 13659
European Union All 11652.7 456319275 25536

Looking at the New Members

When the European Union expanded to 25 members in 2004, the 10 nations it added, if taken together and considered to be just one nation, would rank behind Italy as the fifth largest nation of the European Union in terms of GDP-PPP and second behind Germany in population. The 10 nations combined would also collectively be the poorest nation of the European Union, falling well behind the poorest EU15 nation of Portugal in the measure of GDP-PPP per capita - a legacy of the totalitarian governments and communist economic systems that constricted many of the new members' economic production potential for much of the twentieth century.

The Richest and Poorest Nations of the EU

There are actually three subcategories here, all measured by GDP-PPP per capita: the richest and poorest nations of the EU15 (the members of the European Union before 2004), the richest and poorest nations of the EU25 (the nations that joined in 2004) and finally, the richest and poorest nations of the entire European Union.

For the EU15, the richest nation is Luxembourg, whose status as a tax haven gives this small nation an outsized GDP given the associated strength of its banking and financial sectors, followed by Denmark. The poorest EU15 nation is Portugal, whose GDP-PPP per capita of $17,930 USD falls well behind next poorest EU15 nation Greece.

Looking at the ten nations that joined the European Union in 2004, the richest is the island nation of Cyprus (including the Turkish-Cypriot controlled portion of the island), followed by Slovenia. The poorest nation among the ten new EU members is Latvia, which is closely followed by Poland in the GDP-PPP per capita ranking.

For the EU as a whole, Luxembourg is the richest nation and Latvia is the poorest. Of the 10 new members added in 2004, only Cyprus ranks ahead of the average GDP-PPP per Capita of all twenty-five members of the EU.

Data Sources:

GDP-PPP Data: 2004 GDP-PPP Data for Individual Nations
Population Data: July 2004 Population Estimates
GSP and GDP per Capita: This data was calculated by simply dividing the published GDP-PPP data by each nation's population estimate for July 2004.

Previously on Political Calculations

2004 Economic and Population Data

2002 Economic and Population Data

About Political Calculations

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