"Statistical information is an important tool for understanding and quantifying the impact of political decisions in a specific territory or region. The Eurostat regional yearbook 2012 gives a detailed picture relating to a broad range of statistical topics across the regions of the 27 Member States of the European Union (EU), as well as the regions of EFTA and candidate countries. Each chapter presents statistical information in maps, figures and tables, accompanied by a description of the main findings, data sources and policy context. These regional indicators are presented for the following 11 subjects: economy, population, health, education, the labour market, structural business statistics, tourism, the information society, agriculture, transport, and science, technology and innovation. In addition, three special focus chapters are included in this edition: these look at European cities and coastal regions, while the publication ends with a description of the methods used to identify rural and urban areas."