& Events

Government expenditure on social protection accounts for almost one fifth of GDP

Mar 6, 2017 | News

(06 March 2017) – Among the main functions of general government expenditure in the EU, ‘social protection’ was by far the most important in 2015, equivalent to 19.2% of GDP.

Social centre
© Kieran McNamara

The next most important areas were ‘health’ (7.2%), ‘general public services’ such as external affairs and public debt transactions (6.2%), ‘education’ (4.9%) and ‘economic affairs’ (4.3%).

The functions ‘public order and safety’ (1.8%), ‘defence’ (1.4%), ‘recreation, culture and religion’ (1.0%), ‘environmental protection’ (0.8%) and ‘housing and community amenities’ (0.6%) had more limited weights.

The ratio of government social protection expenditure to GDP varied across EU Member States from less than 10% in Ireland (9.6%) to over a quarter in Finland (25.6%).

More information