In 2020, ‘health’ remained the second-largest function of general government expenditure in the EU, following ‘social protection’. Government expenditure on ‘health’ increased by 1 percentage point (pp) compared with 2019 (8.0% of GDP in 2020 compared with 7.0% of GDP in 2019).
The increase is due to both a decrease in nominal GDP and an increase in government expenditure on health (€1 073 billion in 2020 compared with €978 billion in 2019), mainly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The most significant categories of health expenditure were ‘hospital services’ (3.4% of GDP), ‘outpatient services’ (2.5% of GDP) and 'medical products, appliances and equipment' (1.2% of GDP).
Highest ratio of health expenditure to GDP in Czechia, Austria, France
In 2020, Czechia and Austria (both 9.2%) and France (9.0%) recorded the highest ratios of government expenditure devoted to health to GDP among EU Member States. Meanwhile, Latvia (4.8% of GDP), Poland and Ireland (both 5.4% of GDP) recorded the lowest ratios.
Source dataset: gov_10a_exp
The EU Member State recording the largest increase in the ratio of government expenditure devoted to health to GDP was Cyprus (5.9% in 2020 compared with 3.5% in 2019), followed by Malta (7.2% of GDP in 2020 compared with 5.2% of GDP in 2019) and Hungary (6.4% of GDP in 2020 compared with 4.5% of GDP in 2019).
For more information:
- Eurostat What’s New article on government expenditure by function
- Eurostat Statistics Explained article on government expenditure on health
- Eurostat set of Statistics Explained articles on government expenditure by function
- Eurostat interactive infographic on government expenditure by function
- Eurostat database on government finance
- Eurostat metadata on general government expenditure by function
- While a significant effort was undertaken to harmonise the recording of government measures to mitigate the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, some further harmonisation of data for the reference year 2020 might be needed. The likelihood of future revisions is thus higher than usual and data are provisional.
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