Answer to Map #27

Click here for a full-size version of this week’s map.

Back to this week’s map and hints.

Answer: This choropleth depicts the percentage of residents of each region of the European Union who are unemployed.

The darkest color on this map corresponds to regions where the unemployment rate exceeds 25%. The region on the map with the highest unemployment rate is Andalucia, Spain, where approximately 31.5% of the working-age population cannot find a job. But Andalucia is actually not the region of the European Union with the highest unemployment rate; that distinction belongs to Melilla, a Spanish enclave across the Strait of Gibraltar. The second darkest color on this map corresponds to regions where the unemployment rate is between 21% and 25%, and each subsequent shade indicates a band of 4%.

The lightest color on this map corresponds to regions where the unemployment rate is lower than 5%. The regions on this map with the lowest unemployment rate, as mentioned in Friday’s hint, are Freiburg and Niederbayern in southern Germany, both of which have unemployment rates of 2.5%. In general, Germany and the United Kingdom have some of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe.

The data used to make this map come from Eurostat, the organization which provides official statistics to the European Union. We have used data from 2015, the most recent year for which complete information is available.

One of the most interesting features of this map is the visibility of regional variations within countries. While Germany generally has a strong economy with lower unemployment rates than the rest of Europe, there are still clear patterns within Germany. The parts of the country that were once under communist rule have not been fully integrated into the country’s economy; as a result, we see darker shades on this choropleth in what was once East Germany than in the regions that were once West Germany. We also see regional variations within Italy, where the northern part of the country has become more industrialized and generally has a stronger economy. Italy has much higher rates of unemployment in the southern part of the country.

The unemployment statistics quoted in the above paragraphs do not necessarily do justice on their own to the depth of Europe’s ongoing economic problems. Rather, it is also instructive to look at statistics for youth unemployment. In Europe’s changing economies, young people often have difficulty breaking into the labor force. In Greece (44.2%), Spain (42.9%), and Italy (40.1%), more than four in ten job seekers under the age of 25 are unable to find full-time employment. These staggering rates of joblessness can lead to social and political unrest.

Next map: Click here to try out our newest map question.