Equaling 16 percent of gross domestic product, Estonia's social protection expenditure measured as a ratio to GDP in 2015 ranked among the smallest in the European Union, data available from Eurostat shows.
The ratio was the same for Lithuania, while Latvia and Romania were at the bottom of the table with 15 percent each.
Since 2010, social protection expenditure in the EU has increased slightly, from 28.6 percent of GDP in 2010 to 29.0 percent in 2015.
In 2015, the two main sources of funding of social protection at EU level were social contributions, making up 54 percent of total receipts, and general government contributions from taxes at 43 percent.
The EU average continued to mask major disparities between member states. In 2015, social protection expenditure represented at least 30 percent of GDP in France, 34 percent, Denmark and Finland, both 32 percent, and Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Italy, all 30 percent.
At the bottom of the table, after the three Baltic countries are Romania, came Malta, Bulgaria and Slovakia, all with 18 percent, as well as in the Czech Republic, 19 percent.
Of the social protection expenditure of Estonia, 12.8 percent is spent on family and children, 2.7 percent on unemployment, 39.9 percent on healthcare and incapacity for work, 43.9 percent on the elderly and survivors, and 0.7 percent on housing and combating social exclusion.
Compared with 2014, Estonia's social protection expenditure measured as a ratio to GDP grew by 1.3 percentage points.
Editor: Dario Cavegn