Living in Greece

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EU vs. USA working hours, employment, ongoing education & retirement stats

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Each year, Eurostat compiles statistics on all European member states that concern average working hours, employment rates for men and women, lifelong learning, taxes, wages and retirement age. Most of those categories are covered below and presented as a general overview.

Statistics on EU countries were taken directly from Eurostat, and those for the United States were either included in the same survey or extracted from U.S. government websites.

It is a straightforward list, not an analysis. I arranged them in ascending or descending order to facilitate easier viewing and comparison.

Average working hours per week

United States – 46.0
Austria — 42.4
UK — 42.4
Latvia — 42.2
Estonia — 41.0
Switzerland — 41.0
Spain — 40.9
Greece 40.7
EU average — 40.5
Germany — 40.3
Portugal — 40.1
Luxembourg — 40.0
Cyprus — 39.9
Sweden — 39.9
Denmark — 39.4
Italy — 39.3
Finland — 39.2
France — 39.1
Belgium — 39.0
Netherlands — 38.9
Norway — 38.6

*Based on 2006 stats

Employment Rate by Gender

Percentage of total women/men aged 15 to 64, designating themselves as workers, employed as of 2006. Figure does not include those who are unemployed by choice or willingly refuse offers of work.

Women:

Denmark — 73.4
Norway — 72.2
Switzerland — 71.1
Sweden — 70.7
Netherlands — 67.7
Finland — 67.3
United States — 66.1
United Kingdom — 65.8
Estonia — 65.3
Austria — 63.5
Germany — 62.2
Portugal — 62.0
Cyprus — 60.3
Ireland — 59.3
France — 57.7
EU average — 57.2
Eurozone average — 56.6
Belgium — 54.0
Spain — 53.2
Poland — 48.2
Greece 47.4
Italy — 46.3

Men:

Switzerland — 84.7
Denmark — 81.2
Netherlands — 80.9
Cyprus — 79.4
Norway — 78.4
United States — 78.1
Ireland — 77.7
United Kingdom — 77.3
Austria — 76.9
Spain — 76.1
Sweden — 75.5
Greece 74.6
Portugal — 73.9
Germany — 72.8
Eurozone Average — 72.6
EU Average — 71.6
Finland — 71.4
Estonia — 71.0
Italy — 70.5
France — 68.5
Belgium — 67.9
Poland — 60.9

Tax burden on low wage earners

Cyprus — 19.9
Ireland — 19.9
Switzerland — 26.7
United States — 26.7
Luxembourg — 29.8
United Kingdom — 29.9
Portugal — 31.7
Norway — 34.3
Greece 34.4
Spain — 35.7
Denmark — 39.3
EU average — 39.4
Finland — 39.5
Estonia — 39.8
Netherlands — 41.3
France — 41.4
Italy — 41.7
Eurozone average — 42.3
Poland — 42.4
Austria — 42.5
Sweden — 46.5
Germany — 46.7
Belgium — 49.1

*Based on latest stats from 2005

Lifelong learning

Percentage of female/male population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training as of 2006 (except where indicated). Ongoing education is an investment that builds value in both employees and companies by creating a work force that is skilled, viable and highly competitive.

Women:

United States — 43.2 (2005)*
Sweden — 36.5 (2005)
Denmark — 33.8
United Kingdom — 31.2
Finland — 27.0
Switzerland — 26.5 (2005)
Norway — 20.2
Netherlands — 15.9
Austria — 14.0
Spain — 11.5
EU average — 10.4
Latvia — 9.3
Ireland — 8.9
Luxembourg — 8.7
Eurozone average — 8.6
Estonia — 8.6
France — 7.8
Cyprus — 7.8
Belgium 7.6
Germany — 7.3
Italy — 6.5
Poland — 5.1
Portugal — 4.0
Greece 1.8
Bulgaria — 1.3

Males:

United States — 43.2 (2005)*
Sweden — 27.9 (2005)
Switzerland — 27.4 (2005)
Denmark — 24.6
United Kingdom — 22.0
Finland — 19.3
Norway — 17.2
Netherlands — 15.3
Slovenia — 13.8
Austria — 12.2
Spain — 9.3
EU average — 8.8
Eurozone average — 7.9
Germany — 7.8
Luxembourg — 7.6
Belgium — 7.4
France — 7.2
Cyprus — 6.5
Ireland — 6.1
Italy — 5.7
Poland — 4.3
Estonia — 4.2
Portugal — 3.7
Greece 2.0
Romania — 1.6

*Figure is given as a total for both men and women aged 25 to 64 participating in work-related training or education courses

Employment of mature workers

The 2006 employment rate of older female/male workers is calculated by dividing the number of women aged 55 to 64 in employment by the total female/male population in the same age group. Total population includes those living in private households and excludes those in collective households such as boarding houses, halls of residence and hospitals. Employed population consists of those persons who during the reference week did any work for pay or profit for at least one hour, or were not working but had jobs from which they were temporarily absent.

Women:

Sweden — 66.9
Norway — 61.6
Estonia — 59.2
Switzerland — 56.6
United States — 56.5
Finland — 54.3
Denmark — 54.3
United Kingdom — 49.1
Latvia — 48.7
Portugal — 42.78
Germany — 40.6
Ireland — 39.1
Netherlands — 37.2
Cyprus — 36.6
France — 35.2
EU average — 34.8
Eurozone average — 33.0
Bulgaria — 31.1
Spain — 28.7
Luxembourg — 27.8
Greece 26.6
Austria — 26.3
Belgium — 23.2
Italy — 21.9

Men:

Switzerland — 74.9
Norway — 73.1
Sweden — 72.3
Cyprus — 71.6
United States — 67.5
Denmark — 67.1
Ireland — 67.0
United Kingdom — 66.0
Spain — 60.4
Czech Republic — 59.5
Latvia — 59.5
Greece 59.2
Portugal — 58.2
Netherlands — 58.0
Estonia — 57.5
Germany — 56.4
Finland — 54.8
EU average — 52.6
Eurozone average — 50.8
Austria — 45.3
Italy — 43.7
Belgium — 40.9
France — 40.1
Luxembourg — 38.7

Average retirement age

Women:

Poland — 57.4
Luxembourg — 58.7
Italy — 58.8
France — 59.1
Austria — 59.4
Belgium — 59.6
EU Average — 60.4
Denmark — 60.7
Greece 61.0
Germany — 61.1 (2004)
Netherlands — 61.4
Finland — 61.7
United Kingdom — 61.9
Switzerland — 62.0
United States — 62.6*
Spain — 62.8
Sweden — 63.0
Norway — 63.1
Portugal — 63.8
Ireland — 64.6

Men:

France — 58.5
Austria — 60.3
Italy — 60.7
Denmark — 61.2
EU Average — 61.4
Germany — 61.4 (2004)
Belgium — 61.6
Netherlands — 61.6
Finland — 61.8
Spain — 62.0
Poland — 62.0
Portugal — 62.4
Greece 62.5
United States — 62.7*
Norway — 63.1
Switzerland — 63.1
United Kingdom — 63.4
Ireland — 63.6
Sweden — 64.3

Latest stats from 2005, except where indicated.

*Inaccurate due to many returning to work after retirement

Notes

EU average = average calculated using the (then) 27 member states.

Eurozone average = average calculated using member states using the euro common currency.

*There are now 28 member states, with Croatia joining on July 1, 2013.

Sources

- Eurostat
U.S. Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics
Library Spot
Social Security Administration
San Diego Tribune
National Center for Education Statistics
Kathimerini

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