Saturday, April 2, 2011

Europe by Numbers: Great Interactive Guide

 I’ve just learned everything I’ve ever wanted to learn about the European Union, not knowing I actually ever wanted to know anything. But I'm glad I did. This  guide turned me around.

I’m not only fascinated by what I’ve learned from looking at a bunch of moving circles and statistics about each of the countries, but by the questions I now have about them. Take a look, it’s fascinating.

Like why is the life expectancy of men in Latvia 66 while it’s 85 in Sweden? Does the standard of living alone account for a twenty year difference?

Why is Latvia expected to lose 26% of its population by 2060, while Great Britain’s will increase by 23%. Can’t be poverty, alone, because Germany’s expected to lose 13% and its economy is booming. And how did Germany get seven million foreign citizens? Makes me wonder how many Canadian citizens we have born outside of Canada. Would we even collect that statistic?

For me, the most fascinating of the statistics are the homicide rates.

The big questions I have is, why did Romania have 493 murders in one year while Greece, whose population is only slightly smaller have only118? And Lithuania, the size of Austria, had 406 murders while Austria had 46? Something not so good is going on in Lithuania and Romania, no?

That‘s a whole lot of murders for not-so-big countries. I come from Detroit. While I was growing up, it was called Murder City. Nothing to be proud of.  Hundreds of murders every year. As a kid, I used to think that everyone who was going to kill someone would have already done it, so the murderers would die out. I didn’t realize that new, prospective murderers were being born every second as I spoke.

By the way, Cyprus had nine murders, Luxembourg seven. France has the highest number in the EU at 899. Not good, France. By comparison, Canada had 564 in 2007 (the latest number I can find).  France has 62 million people, roughly twice our population. Germany, which has 82 million people, had 632 murders.

You’ll be pleased to know that there are 458 doctors per 100,000 people in Austria, the highest in the EU. The number I found for Canada is 121. Is this possible?

For those of us who want to travel and worry about how far our buck will go, check out the Czech Republic. Their cost of living is closest to ours. Where’s it most expensive for us? France, Finland and Denmark. Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland are the least. Just don’t get clobbered in Romania.

Note to country: Let’s not feel too sorry for ourselves. The jobless rate in Span is 22%, Ireland 13%, Latvia and Lithuania, 18%.

And... the last fact I’ll leave you with:  23 out of 27 countries in the EU have more phones than people. Portugal, Greece and Italy have the highest concentration of phones and lowest internet use rate.

I could go on. But won’t.  Take a look yourself.

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