Business demography - Structural business statistics

Business demography

Business demography statistics present data on:

  • the active population of enterprises;
  • enterprise births;
  • enterprise survivals (followed up to five years after birth);
  • enterprise deaths;
  • high-growth enterprises;
  • derived indicators such as birth rates, death rates, survival rates and employment shares.

Business demography statistics provides highly policy relevant information of the economic contribution of newly born enterprises, enterprises surviving their first years of activity as well as high-growth enterprises across EU economies. For each business demographic event, employment variables are available in order to quantify the importance.

The data can be analysed by economic activity of the enterprises (NACE Rev.2), legal form and employement size class as well as by region in order to reveal specific demographic patterns.

This year Eurostat will publish some findings of experimental quarterly data collection that comprises data on registrations and bankruptcies.

Data collection

The annual business demography data collection covers variables that explain the characteristics and demography of the business population. The methodology allows for the production of data on enterprise births (and deaths), that is, enterprise creations (cessations) that amount to the creation (dissolution) of a combination of production factors and where no other enterprises are involved. In other words, enterprises created or closed solely as a result of e.g. restructuring, merger or break-up are not considered. High-growth enterprises refer to enterprises that were growing fast in terms of employees.

The data are drawn from business registers, although some countries improve the availability of data on employment and turnover by integrating other sources.

The harmonized data collection (started in 2002) aims to provide comparable data on business demography for European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members. It also provides key data for the joint OECD-Eurostat "Entrepreneurship Indicators Programme".

Annual business demography data covering all enterprises have been published since 2008 using the NACE Rev.2. classification. In addition, starting with year 2012, Eurostat has been collecting and publishing business demography data also for the specific subpopulation of enterprises – ‘employer enterprises’, these are enterprises that have at least one employee. This data collection is known under name ‘Employer Business demography’.

Data on high-growth enterprises is available since 2012 covering enterprises with at least 10 employees in the beginning of their growth and having average annualised growth in number of employees greater than 10% per annum, over a three year period. In addition, the high-growth enterprises that are up to five years old (Gazelles) are available on a voluntary basis.

The other voluntary annual data collection is regional business demography that covers business demography data for all enterprises as well as employer enterprises by regions at NUTS3 level based on the address of enterprises. Data available for quite aggregated level of NACE and by employee size classes.

On voluntary basis, quarterly business demography data comprising registrations and bankruptcies of companies are collected . Contrary to annual business demography data, these data are based on legal units. With the 1st quarter 2021, this data collection will become mandatory and will be published regularly.

Coverage of economic activities and legal forms

The economic activities covered by business demography indicators are NACE Rev.2 sections B to N, excluding group 64.2 (management activities of holding companies), and voluntarily sections P to S.

High-growth enterprises cover all NACE Sections B to N and P to R and divisions S95 and S96.

Thus, activities relating to industry, construction, distributive trades and services are covered, but agriculture, public administration, non-market activities of households, and extra-territorial agencies are not.

At present, indicators include market producers and exclude units in the central and local government sectors.


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