OECD Regions at a Glance 2011

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OECD Regions at a Glance is the one-stop guide for understanding regional competitiveness and performance, providing comparative statistical information at the sub-national level, graphs and maps. It identifies new ways that regions can increase their capacity to exploit local factors, mobilise resources and link with other regions. Measuring such factors as education levels, employment opportunities and intensity of knowledge-based activities, this publication offers a statistical snapshot of how life is lived – and can be improved – from region to region in the OECD area. 

This fourth edition of OECD Regions at a Glance showcases the contribution of regions to stronger, fairer and cleaner economies, drawing on both the latest comparable data and past trends across regions in OECD countries. It highlights the persistence of regional disparities, underscores unused resources that can be mobilised to maximise regions’ competitive edge, and shows the common characteristics of performing regions. The report includes data on the four newest OECD member countries: Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia. Where available, data on Brazil, China, India, the Russian Federation and South Africa are also included. This publication provides a dynamic link (StatLink) for each graph and map, which directs the user to a web page where the corresponding data are available in Excel®.

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Executive Summary

International comparisons of economies and societies tend to be undertaken at the country level. Statistics on production capacities refer to gross domestic product (GDP) for example, while health and education levels tend similarly to be measured and debated in national terms. However, the differences between countries are often not as great as the disparities within them. In Chile, Poland, Portugal and Turkey, for example, the GDP per worker in the best performing region is more than three times higher than in the worst performing region. In several places, disparities have widened recently, as evidenced by the doubling of the difference in employment growth rate across OECD regions after the 2008-09 recession. Understanding the differences and similarities in regional economic structures is essential for designing effective strategies to resume and maintain aggregate growth. At the same time, statistical evidence specific to regional contexts can help strengthen the recovery of OECD countries by identifying potential and challenges of places to become engines of sustainable economic and social development.

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