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Accessing European statistics

From Statistics Explained

Latest update of text: January 2013

The simplest way to access Eurostat’s broad range of statistical information is through its website. Eurostat provides users with free access to its databases and all of its publications in portable document format (PDF) via the internet. The website is updated daily and gives access to the latest and most comprehensive statistical information available on the EU, its Member States, EFTA countries, as well as acceding and candidate countries. It also provides access to a narrower range of data covering non-member countries, for example, potential candidate countries and other neighbouring countries, as well as other major economies, such as Japan or the United States.

For full access to all of the services available on Eurostat’s website, it is recommended that users should take a few minutes to register from the homepage. Registration is free of charge and allows access to:

  • tailor-made e-mail alerts providing information on new publications as soon as they are online;
  • enhanced functionalities within databases (for example, the ability to save data queries and make bulk downloads).

The information on Eurostat’s website under the ‘Statistics’ tab (always present near the top of each webpage) provides links to:

  • EU policy indicators;
  • Statistics by theme:
    • general and regional statistics;
    • economy and finance;
    • population and social conditions;
    • industry, trade and services;
    • agriculture and fisheries;
    • international trade;
    • transport;
    • environment and energy;
    • science and technology.

For each of these themes, the user is presented with a range of different sub-themes – for example, within the population and social conditions theme there are sub-themes for: population; health; education and training; the labour market; income, social inclusion and living conditions; social protection; household budget surveys; crime and criminal justice; and culture. These sub-themes are presented through ‘dedicated sections’ on each subject area, with information generally presented for data (main tables and databases), legislation, methodology, publications and other background information.

Access to data

Data navigation tree

The majority of Eurostat’s statistics may be accessed from the data navigation tree, at:; alternatively, there is an icon at the right-hand end of the top menu bar on most Eurostat webpages that can be used to switch to the data navigation tree.

The data navigation tree is based on the nine statistical themes presented above and is collapsible and expandable. It has three main branches:

  • Database by themes which contains the full range of public data available on the Eurostat website. These data are presented in multi-dimensional tables with selection features that allow tailor-made presentations and extractions. The interface for databases is called the Data Explorer and this provides an intuitive way to select and organise information. Data can be downloaded from the Data Explorer in various formats (XLS, CSV, HTML, PC AXIS, SPSS, TSV and PDF).
  • Tables by themes which offer a selection of the most important Eurostat data in a user-friendly way. All data are presented in simple two- or three-dimensional tables, generally with European aggregates and data for the EU Member States on the y-axis and time on the x-axis. Tables can be viewed using an interface called TGM – tables, graphs and maps – where data can be visualised as graphs or maps in addition to a standard, tabular presentation. Data can be downloaded from TGM in various formats (XLS, HTML, XML and TSV).
  • Tables on EU policy which also provide access to pre-defined tables; these have particular relevance for tracking the progress being made in relation to important policy areas, including: the macroeconomic imbalance procedure scoreboard; Euro-indicators / principal European economic indicators; Europe 2020 indicators; sustainable development indicators; and employment and social policy indicators. The tools for viewing and extracting data are the same as those described above for tables by themes.

The data navigation tree also has two special branches, where new items or recently updated items (from all databases and tables) can be displayed according to a set of user preferences (criteria set by the user).

Eurostat online data codes – easy access to the freshest data

Eurostat online data codes, such as tps00001 and nama_gdp_c[1], allow easy access to the most recent data on Eurostat’s website; these codes are given as part of the source below each table, figure or map.

Users can access the freshest data by typing a standardised hyper-link into a web browser – http:‍//<data_code>&mode=view – where <data_code> is to be replaced by the online data code printed under the table or figure in question. The data is presented either in the TGM or the Data Explorer interface.


Online data codes can also be fed into the ‘Search’ function on Eurostat’s website, which is presented as an icon at the right-hand end of the top menu bar on most Eurostat webpages. The results from such a search present related dataset(s) and possibly publication(s) and metadata. By clicking on these hyper-links users are taken to product page(s)[2], which provide information about each dataset/publication or set of metadata.

Note that the data on Eurostat’s website is frequently updated. Note also that the description above presents the situation as of the beginning of December 2012.

Statistics Explained

Statistics Explained is part of Eurostat’s website – it provides easy access to statistical information concerning the EU. It can also be accessed via an icon at the right-hand end of the top menu bar on most Eurostat webpages, or directly at

Statistics Explained is an online publishing system about EU statistics which uses MediaWiki technology and resembles Wikipedia. It is a wiki-based system that presents statistical articles which together form an encyclopaedia of European statistics, completed by a glossary of the statistical concepts and terms used. In addition, numerous links are provided to the latest data and metadata and to further information, making Statistics Explained a portal for regular and occasional users alike.

At present the Statistics Explained pages in English consist of more than 500 statistical articles presenting data, around 100 background articles on methodological practices or developments, and some 1 500 glossary pages defining or explaining terms; their number is continuously growing. The contents of the online Eurostat yearbook and the online Eurostat regional yearbook, almost 100 statistical articles, are also available in German and French; furthermore, a selection of 20 key articles from these two online publications have been inserted in 18 more EU languages.

It is possible to search for articles using navigational features in the left-hand menu of Statistics Explained, while the top-right menu bar offers tools, among others, to share, blog, cite, print, bookmark or forward content easily.

Country profiles interface

The country profiles interface on the Eurostat website offers the possibility to visualise key statistical indicators for different EU Member States in a user-friendly, dynamic map and to compare two countries and the EU-27 totals/averages within a table. The interface can be accessed via the following link:

In 2011, Eurostat developed its first version of the Country profiles interface for iPhone/iPad and Android mobile devices. These apps can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple App Store or from the Google Play store. They present the same data as the website application in tables, figures and maps. An update function allows the freshest data to be downloaded manually or automatically twice a day. The user interface is available in German, English and French.


Eurostat produces a variety of publications, some of which are made available on its website in PDF format, free of charge. As with the ‘Statistics’ tab for accessing data, there is a ‘Publications’ tab that is accessible from the top menu bar of most webpages on the Eurostat website.

There are a variety of different types of publication, including the following collections:

News releases provide rapid information, designed to be of interest for journalists and other users who need very recent targeted information;

Statistical books are in-depth, larger publications with statistical analysis and data;

Pocketbooks are free of charge publications aiming to present main indicators for a statistical theme;

Statistics in focus are short publications providing the most recent statistical data, including complementary statistical analysis;

Methodologies and working papers are technical publications for statistical experts working in a particular field;

Compact guides are leaflets offering basic figures and guidance on how to obtain more information from the Eurostat website and other sources.

Eurostat produces more and more publication content exclusively in Statistics Explained. If you do not find your publication on the publications tab any more you might find related content or a ‘virtual’ edition of the full publication in Statistics Explained.

Some Eurostat publications, including the pocketbook Key figures on Europe, are not only available in PDF format but also as in print; copies can be ordered from the EU bookshop (

Reference metadata

The Euro SDMX metadata structure (ESMS) is a format based on the Statistical Data and Metadata eXchange (SDMX) content oriented guidelines, which were adopted in January 2009 by seven international organisations. The ESMS is a format used to present methodological information structured according to 21 selected concepts; it is the standard for reference metadata in the European Statistical System (ESS). It puts emphasis on quality-related information, containing concepts such as accuracy, comparability, coherence and timeliness.

Reference metadata may be accessed on Eurostat’s website from the heading ‘Metadata’ which appears in the left-hand menu after selecting the ‘Statistics’ tab, or directly from the data navigation tree, or through the interfaces for viewing databases and tables.

In addition to the Eurostat metadata (which has been available for many years), a set of national reference metadata in ESMS format has been available since 2011. This was first introduced within the data navigation tree for the harmonised indices of consumer prices (prc_hicp_esms) and since the beginning of 2012 has been expanded to cover other statistical domains.

Euro SDMX Metadata Structure Indicator Profile (ESMS-IP)

The ESMS-IP provides a user-oriented information on the indicator properties. Formerly, the assessment of quality of selected policy indicators was done through specific metadata files - the quality profiles (QPs). With the implementation of the ESMS-IPs the QPs will be discontinued and they will be gradually replaced by ESMS-IPs. The ESMS=IPs have generally been introduced for indicators that link statistics to European policies, namely, Europe 2020 indicators and sustainable development indicators (SDI).

Furthermore, general information about the scope and content of the related datasets exist in the reference metadata files.

User support

Eurostat and the other members of the ESS have set up a system of user support centres – European Statistical Data Support (ESDS). These exist for nearly all of the EU’s official languages and for a range of languages spoken in the EFTA, acceding, candidate and potential candidate countries.

In order to offer the best possible and personalised support, requests should, whenever possible, be addressed to the relevant language support centre. The mission of each centre is to provide free of charge help and guidance to persons having difficulty in finding the statistical data they require. Contact information for these user support centres is available via the ‘User support’ tab on Eurostat’s website (

Eurostat’s service for journalists

Statistics make news and they are essential to many reports, features and in-depth analyses. Printed media, as well as radio and television, use Eurostat data intensively. Eurostat’s press office puts out user-friendly news releases on a key selection of data covering the EU, the euro area, the Member States and their partners. All Eurostat news releases are made available free of charge on the Eurostat website at 11 a.m. (central European time). Around 200 news releases were published in 2012, of which approximately three quarters were based on monthly or quarterly euro-indicators; other news releases covered major international events and important Eurostat publications.

Eurostat’s press centre helps professional journalists find data on all kinds of topics. Journalists can contact media support for further information on news releases and other data (tel. (352) 4301-33408; or e-mail media support).


  1. There are two types of online data codes: tables have 8-character codes – the first character of which is the letter ‘t’ – for example, tps00001 or tsdph220, while databases have codes that use an underscore ‘_’ within the syntax of the code, for example nama_gdp_c or demo_pjan.
  2. The product page can also be accessed by using a hyper-link, for example, http:‍//<data_code>, where <data_code> is to be replaced by the online data code in question.