Economic wealth is less and less equally distributed among regions. Between 2001 and 2006, in the EU-27 and in most EU Member States, disparities of GDP per capita between NUTS-3 regions have been increasing
Figure 4: Dispersion of regional GDP per inhabitant (%) - Source: Eurostat (tsdec220)
Dispersion of regional GDP highest in eastern European countries
In 2006, within-country dispersion rates of regional GDP exceeded 30 % in eight European countries; seven of which are located in eastern Europe. The rapid transition into market economies has apparently led to high and ongoing polarisation of economic output and an uneven distribution of wealth amongst the regions. Between 2001 and 2006 the within-country dispersion rate of regional GDP rose in 18 out of 24 Member States and there were favourable developments in only a few countries. In 2006, the highest rates of dispersion of regional GDP were in Latvia, Estonia, Hungary and Bulgaria, followed by Slovakia, Romania and Poland. The lowest rate of disparity in 2006 was found in Malta (with only two regions), and in Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland and Spain. Overall, the dispersion rate grew in the EU-27 by 1.1 percentage points between 2001 and 2006 (from 32 % to 33.1 %).