New Social Atlas illustrates social and economic realities of Europe for the first time

After the European elections in May, where does the rise of the far right parties leave us? Does the lurch to the right mean that Europeans are pulling apart, rather than working together? At this decisive point for the future of Europe, there is an even greater need to understand its social and economic realities to counteract the myths.

The Social Atlas of Europe, published by Policy Press, presents Europe as you have never seen it before. The first accessible overview of Europe to use demographic, social and economic data to explore essential issues of European economy, culture, history, and human and physical geography, it visualises Europe and its people in a more fluid way, without artificial national boundaries.

Leading academic human geographers Dimitris Ballas of the University of Sheffield, Danny Dorling and Benjamin Hennig of the University of Oxford use the latest cartographic techniques and state-of-the-art geographical information systems to produce over 160 full colour maps, offering a bold rethinking of the continent as we know it.

"An insightful look at today's Europe", according to Robert Reich (Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration and now Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley), it shows Europe and the Europeans in an entirely new light and highlights why we should be working together.

"Thinking about how to fairly draw and describe Europe today requires many people with many different perspectives to come together. The old imperial cartography of describing other places and other peoples as areas to be explored, visited, and fought over doesn't work anymore. Now mapping Europe is about mapping home." Danny Dorling, University of Oxford.

A wide array of fascinating maps, with accompanying explanatory text, cover such topics as:

  • The way Europeans view a variety of topics ranging from how important religion is in their life to how happy they are;
  • How different health issues affect different populations in Europe;
  • Employment experiences throughout Europe;
  • Europeans' involvement in politics;
  • The environment, from electricity production to expected increases in tropical nights; and
  • The number of people living below the poverty line in different countries.

Put together, this important book represents a startling and compelling overview of many issues facing Europe today and will be of interest to anyone who wants to understand the continent in its truest form.

The Atlas reveals some illuminating facts and figures, such as:

  • The Netherlands has the highest percentage of people who consider themselves to be 'very happy' followed by Iceland, Denmark, Ireland and Belgium (map 2.011);
  • 20% of Luxembourgers feel European above all other identities (map 2.009), the highest proportion of all the European countries;
  • Spain has the greatest increase in population born abroad since 2000. Immigrants typically bring in valuable experience as well as skills to their new country. (map 3.025);
  • Unemployment in Europe may often be highest in areas where more women than men have emigrated (map 5.045);
  • Only 1% of Europeans strongly disagree with democracy as the best political system. The largest number as a percentage of total population is in Kosovo, where 4.5% of people disagree strongly (map 8.083); and
  • Spain has the region with the highest number per 100,000 inhabitants of practising physicians, together with Greece and Austria (map 7.076).

Speaking about the book, Mary O'Hara, award-winning journalist and Fulbright scholar says: "Once again this innovative group of academics open our eyes to something hidden in plain sight. This time, with refreshing accessibility, it is the way we see Europe. A must read!"