In 2020, 262 200 persons were employed as firefighters in the 22 EU Member States with available data, representing 0.1% of total employment in these countries. The vast majority of them were men (97%) and almost half of them were aged 35-49 (47%). Those aged less than 35 accounted for around one quarter (27%) as well as those aged 50 years old or over (26%).
Among the 22 EU Member States with available data, Romania and Estonia recorded the highest shares of firefighters in their workforces (all 0.4 % of total employment).
Spotlight on government expenditure
In 2019, the 27 EU Member States’ government expenditure on 'fire-protection services' amounted to €30.9 billion. This expenditure is equivalent to 0.5% of total government expenditure, which is less than the amount spent on police services (expenditure equivalent to 2.0% of total expenditure in 2019).
Overall, in the EU, public expenditure on fire-protection services remained stable at around 0.4 – 0.5% of total expenditure since the beginning of the time series in 2001.
Highest share of expenditure on fire-protection services in Bulgaria and Romania, lowest in Denmark and Malta
In 2019, the ratio of government fire-protection expenditure to total expenditure varied across EU Member States from 0.1% of total expenditure in Denmark, 0.2% in Malta, 0.3% in Austria and Slovenia to 0.7% in Czechia, 0.8% in Romania and 0.9% in Bulgaria.
Source dataset: gov_10a_exp
This news is published on the occasion of the International Firefighters’ Day celebrated every year on 4 May.
For more information:
- This information on general government expenditure for the function 'fire-protection services' (according to the Classification of the Functions of Government - COFOG) is based on national accounts/government finance statistics. For further information, you can visit the government finance statistics database and the methodological file. An interactive infographic is also available on the Eurostat website.
- The figures on numbers of ‘fire-fighters’ were collected through the 2020 EU Labour Force Survey. Firefighters refer to category 'ISCO 5411 Firefighters', as defined under ISCO-08 classification. The article is based on the data from this special data extraction, however 2020 data are not available for Denmark, Spain, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Austria and Portugal.
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