Latvia ranks low in EU for social protection spending

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New data published by Eurostat May 5 shows that Latvia is close to the bottom of the list in the European Union when it comes to social protection expenditure.

Social protection expenditure includes sickness/healthcare; invalidity and disability; old age; parental responsibilities; the loss of a spouse or parent; unemployment; housing; and social exclusion.

In 2020, expenditure on social protection relative to gross domestic product (GDP) was 31.7 % in the EU. Across the EU Member States, this ratio was highest in France (38.1 %), followed by Italy (34.3 %) and Austria (34.0 %).


By contrast, social protection expenditure represented a little more than half that rate (18.0 % of GDP) in Romania and Latvia, with the lowest ratio among the Member States registered in Ireland (15.5 %).

Among the non-EU countries for which data were recorded, Albania (13.9 %) and Türkiye (13.0 %) recorded even lower ratios.

Latvia was also among a small minority of EU Member States that recorded lower ratios of social protection expenditure to GDP in 2020 when compared with 2010. The largest decrease was in Ireland, down 9.9 percentage points, reflecting in part GDP developments related to globalisation effects. There were decreases of 4.0 points in Hungary, 1.1 points in Denmark and 0.5 points in Latvia. 

Social protection spending
Social protection spending


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