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The European Union and the BRIC Countries
added: 2012-05-31

The EU has strategic partnerships with all the BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China. Even though the BRIC countries have certain aspects in common, such as large populations, large land coverage and rapid economic growth, there are equally large economic and social differences between them. In order to compare the four BRIC countries and the EU, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, releases a publication "The European Union and the BRIC countries". This publication contains data on demography, economy, health, education, labour market, trade in goods, agriculture, energy and environment, transport and communication as well as science and technology.

The population of the BRIC countries nearly six times higher than the EU27…

China (1 354 million inhabitants in 2010 or 20% of the world population) and India (1 210 mn or 18%) are the two most populous countries in the world. Brazil with 191 million inhabitants and Russia with 142 million accounted for 3% and 2% respectively of the world population. The EU27, with 501 million inhabitants, accounted for 7% of the total world population.

Within the BRIC countries, the population density varied in 2010 from 8 persons per km2 in Russia and 22 in Brazil to 382 persons per km2 in India and 141 in China, compared with 116 persons per km2 in the EU27.

In general, the BRIC countries have a younger population than the EU. In 2010 those aged less than 15 made up 31% of the population in India, 24% in Brazil, 19% in China and 15% in Russia. In the EU27, 16% of the population were aged less than 15. The EU27 had a significantly higher share of the population aged over 60 than all the BRIC countries.

Among the BRIC countries, China had the highest life expectancy at birth in 2009 (72 for men and 76 for women), followed by Brazil (70 for men and 77 for women), Russia (63 for men and 75 for women) and India (63 for men and 66 for women). The average life expectancy in the EU27 was 77 years for men and 83 for women.

…but EU27 GDP nearly 50% higher than the BRIC countries

Among the BRIC countries, China had the highest GDP (4 300 billion euro in 2010, 9% of world GDP), followed by Brazil (1 600 bn, 3%), India (1 300 bn, 3%) and Russia (1 100 bn, 2%). The EU27 had a GDP of 12 300 bn euro in 2010, 26% of world GDP. When comparing the GDP per capita in the BRIC countries with the EU27, Russia (61% of the EU27 average) had the highest ratio, followed by Brazil (33%), China (22%) and India (10%).

On a global level, in 2010, the EU27 was the largest player in world trade, accounting for 17% of world trade, followed by the USA (14%) and China (12%), compared with 3% for Russia and 2% each for India and Brazil. All four of the BRIC countries were among the ten largest trading partners of the EU27 in 2010, with China in second place, Russia third, India eighth and Brazil tenth.

Marriage rate twice as high in China as in the EU27

Within the BRIC countries, the marriage rate was highest in China (9.0 marriages per 1 000 inhabitants), followed by Russia (8.5) and Brazil (6.6), all above the EU27 (4.5). As regards divorces, Russia (4.5 divorces per 1 000 inhabitants) had the highest rate, followed by China and the EU27 (both 2.0) and Brazil (1.4).

More cars per inhabitant in the EU than in Russia, more mobile phone subscriptions per inhabitant in Russia than in the EU

Among the BRIC countries, Russia (166 mobile phone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in 2010) had a level above the EU27 average (125), while Brazil (104), China (64) and India (61) had lower levels.

Within the BRIC countries, Russia (233 cars per 1 000 inhabitants in 2009) had the largest number of cars per 1 000 inhabitants, followed by Brazil (178), China (34) and India (12). In the EU27, there were 473 cars per 1 000 inhabitants.

Source: Eurostat

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