Social protection sickness and healthcare expenditure as a percentage of GDP has increased in all EU Member States (with available early estimates) except Poland when comparing 2020 with 2019. However, this is partly because nominal GDP has decreased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, social protection benefits expenditure in general increased in all Member States (read more here).
Old age and sickness/healthcare benefits accounted for the majority of social protection benefits in all the Member States for which data are available. Other categories included disability, survivors, family/children, unemployment, housing and social exclusion.
Among the Member States for which 2020 estimates are available, social protection sickness and healthcare expenditure as a percentage of GDP was highest in Germany (11.2% of GDP), France (10.0%) and Belgium (8.8%), while it was lowest in Poland (4.8%), Estonia (5.1%), Lithuania and Latvia (both 5.2%).
The largest increase in sickness and healthcare benefits between 2019 and 2020 in Member States for which 2020 estimates are available was recorded in Cyprus (+2.2 percentage points in % of GDP). Cyprus was followed by Belgium (+1.3 pp) and Czechia (+1.2 pp). The only country that recorded a decrease was Poland (-0.3 pp).
This information comes from early estimates on social protection expenditure, which are main headline indicators for the European System of integrated Social Protection Statistics (ESSPROS) and are being provided by the reporting countries on a voluntary basis.
The source datasets for 2020 early estimates on social protection benefits are available on Eurostat’s website section on social protection statistics.
The full set of social protection data is available, for 2019 and previous years, in the database dedicated to social protection statistics.
For more information:
- Eurostat Statistics Explained article on Social protection statistics - social benefits
- Eurostat dedicated section on social protection
- Eurostat section on social protection early estimates
- Eurostat database on social protection
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