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Aug 9, 2017

10 Largest Economies of Europe as of 2018

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The European continent includes 48 different countries with a total population of more than 731 million people. It’s also home to some of the largest economies in the world.

But Europe isn’t a homogenous area, and it’s broken into various economic blocs. The European Union (EU), for example, comprises 28 European states which generate an estimated 30% of the world’s GDP.

Other smaller blocs are the European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) which include non-EU countries such as Norway, Iceland, Armenia, Albania, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.

Some countries on the European continent may only have territories that are only partly within Europe. These include Turkey, Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation. Other nations, such as Armenia, Cyprus and Georgia are geographically within Asia, but border Europe.

Read more: Quick guide to how global diversification works

The following countries are the top ten economies in Europe, by real GDP, which is adjusted for inflation. All GDP data is the most recent available from the World Bank, unless otherwise noted.

1. Germany

  • Real GDP: $3.76 trillion (USD)
  • Population: 80.6 million
  • Currency: Euro (€)

Germany’s economy is the largest in Europe, accounting for 28% of the region’s GDP. The country’s low unemployment rate, low crime, developed infrastructure, and a highly qualified labor force all work in its favor. The country’s economy is driven largely by its services sector, including the tourism and banking industries, which are responsible for almost 70% of total GDP. Nearly one third of the country’s GDP is derived from the manufacturing and construction sectors, including automotive, machinery, chemicals, and electronic machinery.

2. France

  • Real GDP: $2.81 trillion (USD)
  • Population: 64.93 million
  • Currency: Euro (€)

France has the second largest economy in Europe, and the sixth largest in the world. As the world’s most visited nation, France’s tourism industry is a major component of the country’s economy. France is also Europe’s leading agricultural center, and the sixth largest agricultural producer in the world. Other influential sectors include the chemical industry, manufacturing, services, energy, and the arms industry.

3. United Kingdom

  • Real GDP: $2.73 trillion (USD)
  • Population: 65.5 million
  • Currency: British Pound Sterling (£)

The UK economy, the fifth-largest in the world, is reliant on a diverse cross-section of sectors, including agriculture, construction, hospitality, manufacturing, mining, financial services, the services industry, and oil and gas production–boosted by North Sea resources. However, the total UK economy varies by region, with England and Scotland generating the highest GDP per capita, followed by Northern Ireland and then Wales. The British economy also has a strong tourism sector. London is the second-most visited city in the world.

4. Italy

  • Real GDP: $2.07 trillion (USD)
  • Population: 59.79 million
  • Currency: Euro (€)

Italy is the eighth-largest exporter in the world. Nearly 60% of Italian exports, which are primarily agricultural, got to countries within the EU. Italy is the largest wine producer in the world, and its industrial, automotive and fashion design industries also play a big part in its GDP. Italy also has a large number of small- and medium-sized businesses. Despite its size and diversity, Italy’s economy struggles with structural problems, political corruption, and divisions between the northern and southern parts of the country.

5. Russia

  • Real GDP: $1.62 trillion (USD)
  • Population: 144.3 million
  • Currency: Russian Ruble (RUB)

A part of the Russian Federation’s total territory is within Europe, however Russia is technically considered part of Eurasia. The country’s economy is the fifth largest in Europe and the 11th largest in the world. European Russia makes up around 38% of Europe’s total land area, with its eastern border defined by the Ural Mountains and Kazakhstan. The Russian economy relies heavily on exports of its vast natural resources, including oil, gas, coal and timber. Russia’s petroleum industry is the largest in the world, and its mining industry is also a major component of the country’s economy. The country’s defense, automotive and aerospace industries also play a big role in its economy.

6. Spain

  • Real GDP: $1.46 trillion (USD)
  • Population: 46 million
  • Currency: Euro (€)

The Spanish economy recently returned to health after many years of recession, and is now growing twice as fast as the Eurozone average. Spain also has a strong banking sector and a prominent automotive industry, and its foreign tourism industry has expanded, making Spain the third most visited country in the world.

7. Netherlands

  • Real GDP: $887 billion (USD)
  • Population: 17 million
  • Currency: Euro (€)

The Netherlands’ economy is bolstered by a strong natural resources sector, with large natural gas reserves and a healthy tourism industry. The country is also home to several prominent multinational companies. Thanks to an attractive corporate tax, many non-Dutch companies are headquartered in the Netherlands.

8. Switzerland

  • Real GDP: $634 billion (USD)
  • Population: 8.45 million
  • Currency: Swiss Franc (CHF)

Switzerland has long been recognized as having one of the world’s most stable economies. While Switzerland is not a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) or of the EU, the country is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The Swiss economy is underpinned by a strong banking and financial sector, a highly developed tourism industry, a healthy industrial sector, and a booming watch and clock-making industry. Switzerland’s agricultural industry also produces approximately 60% of the food consumed within the country.

9. Poland

  • Real GDP: $571 billion (USD)
  • Population: 38.5 million
  • Currency: Polish Zloty (PLN)

Poland was the only European economy to avoid entering the recession during the global financial crisis, which began in 2007. Over the past three decades, the Polish economy has grown steadily. The pharmaceutical industry, agriculture, mining, and the banking and financial services sectors are some of the largest parts of the economy.

10. Sweden

  • Real GDP: $558 billion (USD)
  • Population: 9.9 million
  • Currency: Swedish Krona (SEK)

Sweden is primarily is export-oriented, with timber, hydropower and iron ore playing integral roles in foreign trade. Major industries that contribute to Sweden’s robust economy include pharmaceuticals, automotive, telecommunications, hydropower, and iron ore. Other sectors that influence Sweden’s GDP include the IT, telecommunications, steel, iron ore mining, engineering, pharmaceutical production, and automotive manufacturing.

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