Miércoles 24 de Julio de 2002, Ip nº 20

A social radiography shows what today's Europeans are like
Por Víctor Vargas

These are some of the data that can be extracted from Eurostat, the EU office of statistics's latest annual report. Apart from its traditional macroeconomic figures, it offers enough information to risk a sociologic radiography of the Europe of today.

For instance: those who dream of marriage will have much more chances to get it in Portugal and Greece, since these are the two EU countries where more people get married. But if the couple live in Finland or Belgium, the probabilities that they divorce is more than twice than in the rest of Europe.

To avoid this, young Swedes recommend an old recipe: "Before marrying, get to know your couple". 70% of this country's couples between 16 and 29 years old live in a free union. But loners should also look at northern lands. In Sweden, one out of five people lives completely on their own.


The citizens who make more for Europe to actually be an "Old Continent" are Spaniards. With a birth rate of only 1,2 children per couple, their seem to be unenthusiastic when it comes to reproduction. They are followed by Italians (1,25) and Greeks (1,30).

On the other hand, Francie and Ireland are the protagonists of a European baby boom, with a birth rae of 1,89 children. This, in the case of the French, responds to a series of stimuli given by the authorities for women not to be pushed to choose between a professional life and motherhood.


Regarding work, if in your opinion it is a devine punishment, the country that will interest you most will be Belgium: there, people only work 38,5 hours a week.

But if you are a workaholic, the best place Europe can offer you is the UK: 44,2 hours a week. And a warning: the worst place to look for a job in the EU is Spain. It has the highest unemployment index of the Fifteen (9%, according to the source) and the highest rate of termporary contracts: 32%.

Translation by Carolina Friszman

  17/07/2002. La Nación (Argentina).


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