Business demography

Business demography statistics present data on:

  • the active population of enterprises;
  • their birth;
  • survival (followed up to five years after birth), and;
  • death.

Special attention is paid to the impact of these demographic events on employment levels.

Business demography data can be used to analyse the dynamics and innovation of different markets, for example:

  • entrepreneurship in terms of the propensity to start a new business, or;
  • the contribution of newly-born enterprises to the creation of jobs.

Business demography delivers key information for policy decision-making and for the indicators to support the Europe 2020 strategy. It also provides key data for the joint OECD-Eurostat "Entrepreneurship Indicators Programme". Enterprise birth rates, death rates and two-year survival rates form part of the structural indicators used to monitor the progress of the revised Lisbon agenda.

Data collection

Business demography statistics, including regional breakdown, is based on enterprises. However few countries use legal units as a proxy, due to the absence of data at the enterprise level in their business register.

  • Business demography data has been collected on a voluntary basis since 2002.
  • The SBS recast Regulation 295/2008 requires the regular annual collection.
  • After the recently adopted amendments of the SBS Regulation, the employer business demography and high growth enterprises (growth by 10% or more) have become part of the regular annual data collection of business demography statistics.
  • Regional business demography data and the indicators of the Entrepreneurship Indicators Programme are collected on a voluntary basis.

Coverage of economic activities and legal forms

The economic activities covered with 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.

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.

This is mainly due to the current coverage of statistical business registers. At present, indicators include market oriented legal forms (e.g. limited liability companies, sole proprietors, partnerships, and public corporations) but exclude units in the central and local government sectors.