In 2015, households in the European Union (EU) devoted nearly a quarter of their total consumption expenditure to “housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels”. This represents a total spending of almost €2 000 bn (equivalent to 13.4% of EU GDP) and is by far the most significant expenditure of EU households. This is also the expenditure item whose share increased the most significantly over the last decade, from 22.5% of total household expenditure in 2005 to 24.4% in 2015 (or +1.9 percentage points). Similar trends can be observed in an overwhelming majority of the EU Member States, albeit to different extents.
Large shares of total household consumption expenditure were also spent on transport (13.0% of total expenditure), on food and non-alcoholic beverages (12.3%), on miscellaneous goods and services (11.5%) such as financial services, insurance and personal care, on recreation and culture as well as on restaurants and hotels (both 8.5%), while other types of expenditure were less important.
This information, based on detailed breakdowns of household final expenditure by COICOP groups, is issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. While this News Release has a specific focus on housing expenditure, a more detailed picture of household final consumption expenditure by consumption propose is available in a dedicated article on the Eurostat website, complemented with an interactive infographic.
Weight of household expenditure on housing highest in Denmark and Finland, lowest in Malta
In a large majority of EU Member States, “housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels” represents the first item of household expenditure. In 2015, households devoted the largest share of their total expenditure to housing in Denmark (29.4%) and Finland (28.2%), followed by France (26.4%), Sweden (26.0%), the Czech Republic (25.9%) and the United Kingdom (25.6%).
At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest proportion of household expenditure spent on housing was registered by far in Malta (10.1%), ahead of Lithuania (15.8%), Cyprus (16.6%), Estonia (18.0%), Bulgaria (in 2014), Portugal and Slovenia (all 18.8%) as well as Hungary (19.1%).
Share of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels in total household expenditure in the EU Member States, 2015 (%)
Between 2005 and 2015, the share of “housing water, electricity, gas and other fuels” in total household expenditure grew in a vast majority of Member States. In particular, the most remarkable increases over this 10- year time period were recorded in Spain (from 17.4% of total household expenditure in 2005 to 23.0% in 2015, or a rise by 5.6 percentage points – pp), Ireland (+5.0 pp) and Portugal (+4.5 pp), followed by the Netherlands (+3.8 pp), Finland (+3.6 pp), Italy and Latvia (both +3.3 pp) as well as Denmark (+3.1 pp).
In contrast, the share of “housing water, electricity, gas and other fuels” in total household expenditure slightly dropped between 2005 and 2015 in Slovakia (from 26.2% in 2005 to 24.9% in 2015, or a decrease by 1.3 pp), Sweden (-1.0 pp), Malta (-0.9 pp), Poland (-0.7 pp), Germany (-0.4 pp) and Slovenia (-0.1 pp), while it remained stable in Estonia.
The European Union (EU) includes Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The euro area consists of Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland.
Methods and definitions
Data presented in this News Release come from annual national accounts, which are compiled in accordance with the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010).
Household final consumption expenditure, abbreviated as HFCE, consists of the total outlay on individual goods and services by resident households, including those sold at below-market prices. HCFE includes imputed expenditures or transactions which do not occur in monetary terms and can therefore not be measured directly.
Household consumption expenditure is classified by consumption purpose according to the COICOP classification (Classification Of Individual COnsumption by Purpose) which includes up to 60 categories. Data reflect the domestic concept.
The division “Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels” includes expenditure related to rentals for housing, maintenance and repair of the dwelling, water supply and miscellaneous services relating to the dwelling, as well as electricity, gas and other fuels.