With a small population, just over two million, and a small area of less than ten thousand square miles, Slovenia rarely makes the headlines in comparison to many other European nations. Yet this pint-sized country in the center of the continent, touching both the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea, is a highly advanced, literate, and relatively wealthy nation.
According to World Bank Slovenia statistics, it is placed in the high income bracket level, boasting nearly fifty billion US dollars in gross domestic product, a per capita income just shy of twenty-four thousand dollars per year.
This puts it well ahead of some Eastern European nations like Croatia, Serbia, and the Balkans; indeed, the country has the highest gross domestic product per person of any of the new member states in the European Union, and higher than several older members of the EU. Other Eastern and Central European nations are suffering from transitional economies, but Slovenia’s stability places it about on the same level as developed nations like New Zealand.
Living conditions in Slovenia are quite favorable. The life expectancy comes in just shy of 80 years, while the literacy rate of the adult population is at one hundred percent. Likewise, one hundred percent of the urban population has access to quality sanitation, making waste disposal and fresh water a standard of living. Infrastructure within the country remains strong and productive, with water sources for the rural population running higher than the average high income bracket for developed nations. This is due to Slovenia’s favorable location next to the Alps, where the run-off from the mountains provide constant sources of fresh water. The mortality rate runs under five persons per one thousand members of the population, lower than the high income bracket for developed nations: Slovenia has one of the best mortality rates of the entire world.
The economy of the nation is strong if relatively unknown. With less than six percent of the country unemployed, Slovenia has a far better record of job placement than most central European nations, especially Italy and Greece to the south. More interestingly, the unemployment figures have dropped in the past years even as the global financial crisis has worsened. The private sector of Slovenian merchandise trade is booming, reflecting well over one hundred percent of their gross domestic production. The wealthy and urban western areas of the nation have similar economic output to areas of Europe like London, southern Belgium, or eastern France. The contrast to the poorer country side, however, is stark: the eastern areas of the nation produce about as much capital as the most impoverished regions of South and Central Europe.
With a small population, there is a high degree of urbanization, and approximately seventy percent of the population lives in large cities – similar to the demographics of Canada or Australia. The largest city, Ljubljana, has just over a quarter of a million citizens. High urbanization means little environmental harm, and Slovenia has a lower CO2 emission rate than their high-income European neighbors.