Brad' site where he mouths off about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.

Every few weeks someone writes an article comparing some amazing statistic from the Nordic countries in Europe and then compares that statistic to the United States in total.  It’s always some ridiculous apples and oranges comparison that results in a meaningless comparison.

So just as a reminder, the populations of these countries are:

  • Sweden: 9.5 million
  • Denmark: 5.6 million
  • Finland: 5.4 million
  • Norway: 5 million

In addition, demographically and culturally they are relatively homogenous.

By contrast, the United States has a population of 314 million. 

Next time you see someone playing the stats game with a Nordic vs. USA make it a bit more relevant.

Let’s use a US state that is similar to Nordic countries like say Massachusetts: Population 6.7 million.

  Mass Sweden
Population 6.7m 9.5m
White 84% ~98%
Lifespan 80.1 81.2
GDP per capita $58,108 $57,297
Incarceration rate per 100k 218 67
Dominant Religion Catholic 44% Evangelical Lutheran: 94%
Mean income per person $33,966 $21,1193

Now, I picked Massachusetts originally because it has some similar basic demographics (population and culture).  Though, as you can see even here, while Massachusetts is relatively homogenous for a US state, it can’t touch Sweden.

None of this is meant to make one look better than the other. In fact, the chart above makes it clear that both have their own strengths.  The point is that when someone tries to compare a homogenous nation state with a population of that of a smallish US state with the entire United States, put on your skeptics hat on.


Comments (Page 1)
on Nov 12, 2013

When you did this comparison I half suspected you would use Minnesota. Due to the high percentage of Nordic decent.

I do find it interesting the comparisons made with such broad strokes between countries in general. Similar to when people compare states in the US. Especially when data is collected in a dissimilar way between countries. (Not necessarily the above statistics you are currently using).

I do enjoy telling my students that 49.5% of all statistics are made up.

on Nov 12, 2013

I would like to see some more stats from those other Nordic countries. Not for comparison, but simply as research data. Our family has become more and more disullutioned with what the United States has become , and where it is headed. We are seriously looking at other countries where we can feel a better sense of personal freedom & more positive environment for raising a family.

on Nov 12, 2013

I'm Swedish. The Nordic countries certainly have their own share of problems. Comparing statistics between our countries and others is fairly moot, as Frogboy points out there are just too many other factors that go into the equations. But that's not a reason to ignore our successes, just as we will surely not ignore yours.

 

@AceMatrix at least for Sweden our sense of personal freedom is pretty diminished by our high income taxes and cultural desire for political correctness. And thinking about more recent events, you can't escape the ever-watching eye of the NSA here as our secret services cooperate with the US ones.

on Nov 12, 2013

Ace: Facts about Denmark (Where I live)

on Nov 12, 2013

Snowman

Ace: Facts about Denmark (Where I live)

Thank-you for that Snowy. Actually Denmark had always been high on our list. The article was very informative and answered some other questions we had. We still don't know how difficult it is to enter these countries and become a part of the citizenry , so that is something I think will be a major focus of our research going forward.

on Nov 12, 2013

AceMatrix
Our family has become more and more disullutioned with what the United States has become , and where it is headed. We are seriously looking at other countries where we can feel a better sense of personal freedom & more positive environment for raising a family.

Australia...about the same size as the US....and 291 million fewer inhabitants.

OK...so we have the deadliest snakes, spiders, jellyfish, octopus, etc...etc...etc...on the planet - which could be the reason...

on Nov 12, 2013

Australia...about the same size as the US....and 291 million fewer inhabitants.

OK...so we have the deadliest snakes, spiders, jellyfish, octopus, etc...etc...etc...on the planet - which could be the reason...

Actually , I have a very close friend there. He and his wife have a beautiful self-built home there in the outback. They specialize in all natural food and health products and have a thriving web-based business.

on Nov 13, 2013

AceMatrix

Quoting Jafo, reply 6Australia...about the same size as the US....and 291 million fewer inhabitants.

OK...so we have the deadliest snakes, spiders, jellyfish, octopus, etc...etc...etc...on the planet - which could be the reason...

Actually , I have a very close friend there. He and his wife have a beautiful self-built home there in the outback. They specialize in all natural food and health products and have a thriving web-based business.
  Actually that's one example out of an entire country.  That's like saying Obama is every American.

on Nov 13, 2013

It the fault of those darn Socialist..er I mean Communist, wait no, I mean Anarchist.

I forget, which group is the latest boggie man?

We live in 'Merica. We're different. When we get sick, we just yank out our own tonsils. Don't need no commie pinko liberal nanny single payor state doing it for us.

Go USA!!

You know, it's blatently obvious what this thinly veiled topic is really saying, and what the discussion willl ultimately lead into.

Might as well allow politics in these forums because taking the "long route" to say what you really mean is tiresome.

on Nov 13, 2013

Borg999

It the fault of those darn Socialist..er I mean Communist, wait no, I mean Anarchist.

I forget, which group is the latest boggie man?

We live in 'Merica. We're different. When we get sick, we just yank out our own tonsils. Don't need no commie pinko liberal nanny single payor state doing it for us.

Go USA!!

You know, it's blatently obvious what this thinly veiled topic is really saying, and what the discussion willl ultimately lead into.

Might as well allow politics in these forums because taking the "long route" to say what you really mean is tiresome.

Or.. it could be a legitimate, highly NON-controversial point that tiny homogeneous societies face significantly different challenges when implementing national policy than very large, highly diverse societies.  And that those differences are worth considering when you make comparisons between two such societies.

But you go ahead and get your ideological rant on.  

on Nov 13, 2013

Kantok


But you go ahead and get your ideological rant on.  

Remember this thread?  Before the OP was edited, it was full of ideological rants. Certain peopls's motivations are transparent.

Post #19.

Who started this thread? Was it the same person who started the thread referenced below?...

http://forums.stardock.com/449807/page/3/#3414696

 

 

on Nov 13, 2013

Borg999

Remember this thread?  Before the OP was edited, it was full of ideological rants. Certain peopls's motivations are transparent.

http://forums.stardock.com/449807/page/3/#3414696

Wow.. you can link to somewhat political threads.  Congrats, I guess?  That doesn't change the fact that Brad's point ISN'T political.  It's a statement fact to keep in mind when comparing two widely differing societies.  It is, in fact, apolitical.  It applies regardless of the political bent of the conversation in question.  Take the US completely out of it.  Implementing anything, say labor laws as an example, is a different problem in Germany than it is in Iceland because of the size difference and diversity difference of the two nations in question.  Ignoring that fact when trying to make comparisons is dumb.  

"Certain people's motivations are transparent" is really just a way to say "I'm going to interpret what you said however I want so I can rant and pretend to make a point."  

And if I recall, Brad edited that thread specifically because he wanted to remove the political part of the article he quoted.  

on Nov 13, 2013

Why is race brought up?  With the topics that are usually brought up in comparison, education, health care, criminality...whatever...why is the fact that these nations are 98% white even brought up?  

 

I also wonder about the numbers.  "White" is a very cultural term, and means different things to different people.  Considering that 20% of Sweden's population is foreign born, with as many a 500,000 from the Middle east or India, seems unlikely that 98% being the number.  But, some could easily define Persians or Turks as white.  Also, does this also include native populations, minorities that would fall into "white" category, like "Lappish" or "Finns"?  

 

But, why are the arguments less valid when compared to a mostly "white" nation?

on Nov 13, 2013

Ace: Go  south. Uruguayy, Paraguay. 

Tons more freedom, low cost of living. 

on Nov 13, 2013

Sweden is actually a pretty good proof.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Sweden

Immigration tracks with crime rates rather nicely.  Pre-WWII it was an almost entirely homogenous society, with people leaving Sweden in large numbers, not coming to it.

 

Crime rates in the US have been falling or holding steady over a period where they've multiplied by several times in Sweden.

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