Get the app
Get the app

Join millions of investors on Stash

Investing, simplified

Start today with as little as $5
Get the app

10 Largest Economies of Europe as of 2018

August 09, 2017

Explore 40+ funds and selected single stocks available on Stash.  Start investing with just $5.


4 min read

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Investing, simplified

Start today with as little as $5

Get the App

By Juan David Rodriguez

Investment Profile

Bonds Worldwide

An International Bond ETF on Stash

Learn more
Explore more articlesChoose a topic to learn more about
Technology market news Careers Retirement social media

This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, represents an assessment of the market environment as of the date of publication, is subject to change without notice, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice or opinion. Stash assumes no obligation to provide notifications of changes in any factors that could affect the information provided. This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research or investment advice regarding any issuer or security in particular. The strategies discussed are strictly for illustrative and educational purposes and should not be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell, or an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. There is no guarantee that any strategies discussed will be effective.

Furthermore, the information presented does not take into consideration commissions, tax implications, or other transactional costs, which may significantly affect the economic consequences of a given strategy or investment decision. This information is not intended as a recommendation to invest in any particular asset class or strategy or as a promise of future performance. There is no guarantee that any investment strategy will work under all market conditions or is suitable for all investors. Each investor should evaluate their ability to invest long term, especially during periods of downturn in the market. Investors should not substitute these materials for professional services, and should seek advice from an independent advisor before acting on any information presented. Before investing, please carefully consider your willingness to take on risk and your financial ability to afford investment losses when deciding how much individual security exposure to have in your investment portfolio.

Past performance does not guarantee future results. There is a potential for loss as well as gain in investing. Stash does not represent in any manner that the circumstances described herein will result in any particular outcome. While the data and analysis Stash uses from third party sources is believed to be reliable, Stash does not guarantee the accuracy of such information. Nothing in this article should be considered as a solicitation or offer, or recommendation, to buy or sell any particular security or investment product or to engage in any investment strategy. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission. Stash does not provide personalized financial planning to investors, such as estate, tax, or retirement planning. Investment advisory services are only provided to investors who become Stash Clients pursuant to a written Advisory Agreement. For more information please visit