5.1. Geographic and demographic structural determining factors
The geo-demographic conditions of the Basque Country are more similar to those of the EU-28 than to those of the reference regions
Table 15 contains a comparative analysis of the geographic, demographic and educational indicators of the structural conditions. The reference regions are characterised by having a population higher than the EU-28 average and a slightly lower ageing index. In addition, they are more built-up and more accessible. They are also characterised by ranking above average in terms of the availability and exploitation of natural resources, which, according to the literature, is determined by GVA per capita in the Agriculture, Livestock and Fishing; Extractive; and Energy and Water sectors. Lastly, the percentage of the population that has not obtained a secondary or higher education qualification is close to the European average. The Basque Country more closely resembles the EU-28 than the reference regions, and differs from the latter in several of the indicators: the population is smaller, it is older, there is less accessibility, it has fewer natural resources, and it has a smaller percentage of the population with low levels of education. The only indicator in which it coincides with the reference regions is the urban development level, which is even higher than that of those regions. In any case, the differences are small. They are also offset by the Basque Country being closer to these regions in the indicators for the other blocks, which are ultimately more important for distinguishing the impact on competitiveness.