Self-Employment in Europe

What percentage of Europeans is self-employed?

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Map of the percentage of people in Europe that are self-employed.

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In almost every country, the majority of people work as an employee for someone else. Starting your own business requires courage, skills and often a sum of money as an investment. Most people prefer the stability of a job, or simply don’t have the opportunity to start their own business.

On this map, we can see what percentage of the employed population is self-employed. This includes self-employed people without employees. That means a wide range of self-employed people are included. From the owner of a multi million company to a small freelancer.

There is not a very strong geographical pattern. But it seems to be a bit lower in the Nordic countries and a bit higher in southern Europe. Greece (26.8%), Turkey (21.3%) and Italy (20.8%) are the only European countries where it’s over 20%.

Norway has by far the lowest rate, where only 4.6% of employed people are self-employed. Second is Germany with 8.5% and third is Luxembourg with 9.2%.

The data for this map comes from Eurostat. Eurostat defines a self-employed person as someone who is the sole or joint owner of the unincorporated enterprise (one that has not been incorporated i.e. formed into a legal corporation) in which he/she works, unless they are also in paid employment which is their main activity (in that case, they are considered to be employees).

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