E.U. Report: Obese Britons, Chainsmoking Austrians and More!

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Undeterred by its reputation as a haven for boring bureaucrats, the European Union has released the Eurostat Yearbook 2010, a 635-page compendium of E.U. statistics. Covering issues from health to education to economy, it’s not nearly as dull as you’d expect. Some of the juiciest stats follow.

  • The E.U. marriage rate has decreased  from 6.3 marriages per 1000 persons in 1990, to 5.1‰ in 1998 and 4.9‰ in 2007.
  • Births outside of marriage have doubled in the past twenty years.  In 2008, more than half of all births were outside marriage in Estonia (59.0%), Sweden (54.7%), Slovenia (52.8%), France (52.6%) and Bulgaria (51.1%). Women in Greece (5.9%) and Cyprus (8.9%) were the least likely to have babies out of wedlock.
  • Confirming its special relationship with America, Britain reported the highest level of obese and overweight adults (61%). Only Italy and France reported less than 40% of their population as overweight.
  • More than 30% of women in Austria and Denmark report smoking at least once a day, making them the region’s nicotine queens. Portugal (6.8%) was the only member state where the proportion of female daily smokers was under one in 10.
  • About half of all men in Estonia and Latvia smoke daily. Only 16.5% of their Swedish counterparts do.
  • In 2008, Luxembourg recorded just 1.8 infant deaths per 1,000 births. Romania recorded a staggering 11.
  • Roughly a quarter of the E.U.’s GDP is spent on social benefits like government programs for health, welfare, and pensions. Sweden (30.7%) and Belgium (30.1%) top the list, while Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (12%-13%) bring up the rear.