Brad Wardell's views 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 4)
on Nov 28, 2013

AceMatrix
Actually , I'm retired. Is that a problem ?

EDIT : the rest of the family works of course

If you have your own guaranteed income and just want to spend it here, it is almost to easy. The rest of the family just needs to show they will not need 'assistance' beyond a short acclimation period. In other words, have skills in demand, and get a job ASAP. Like I said, we are in short supply of skilled trades, everyone going to school expects to never get their hands dirty.

on Nov 28, 2013

the_Monk
You must have been staying in the wrong places Jafo.   We live in the suburbs of a city and more 'wildlife' than that in our own backyard! 

Agreed, I live in Ontario, and even my place in the city is teaming with life, not near as much as it was when I was younger though. I can remember the sky turning black with flocks of birds, I miss that awesome sight. 

on Nov 28, 2013

Wasn't like we just hung out in the 'burbs.....we  did the Red Leaf train trip...and went from Vancouver in the West to Quebec in the East....

...and Lake Louise was great.....and Banffffff ...

on Nov 28, 2013

on Nov 28, 2013

You will never see the true Canada from the tourist traps, even when I had a trailer in Madawaska, outside Algonquin park, that was just a home base to backpack from. http://www.reddeercabin.ca/how-to-get-here.html

on Nov 28, 2013

myfist0
You will never see the true Canada from the tourist traps,

Yes....same applies in Oz.   Only difference with Oz is you can get into the middle of nowhere and encounter something that wants to poison/kill/eat you....

on Nov 28, 2013

....and then there's the animals.....

on Nov 28, 2013

 

Yeah Banff and Lake Louise are just about the most commercialised 'nature' venues in Canada.  You couldn't pay me to go spend time there 'in nature'.  I prefer the more 'off the beaten track' holidays here.   Hell if you have to go the 'resort' way even the older tourist towns like Radium Hot Springs have more 'off-the-beaten-track' nature just a few miles walk/drive away.

on Nov 28, 2013

You compared mean as opposed to median income and then you estimated an after tax income (and I don't see how you can do that mathematically on a mean income).

 

Which kind of ignores everything that makes this comparison interesting e.g. sweden is a much more equal society and that people do get something for their taxes (things they'd have to pay for in the US, if they can afford to).

 

-edit- I'd look at it like this:

For people in top economic percentiles. In MA you're going to have greatly more disposable income, trade off you will have lower health metrics and less security. Otherwise very similar.

For the rest you're much better off in sweden. But do we care?

So it's a social choice not an economic one. Both systems 'work'.

 

 

 

on Nov 28, 2013

By work I mean they both work for me

I get to play your games and Paradox's.

on Nov 28, 2013

BTW, next time someone says the US should do something because (country in Europe does it) ask them why the EU itself doesn't do it? You want to talk about wealth disparity, look at the EU.  Compare the stats of Bulgaria (an EU country) with that of say Germany or Sweden or France.  

While wealth inequality in the US is much much much better than it is in Europe (again, Europe, not a cherry picked country in Europe), it is still sufficient to implement nation wide programs.

on Nov 29, 2013

Some European countries (like Norway) still refuse to be member of the EU. Mostly because we don't want to share our oil money and not have a real say in EU policies.

on Dec 04, 2013

Algonquin park!  Brings back memories.  40 years ago four of us went kayaking deep into the park.  Water was safe to drink - even without any chlorine.  Was a cliff that you could high dive off of.  The sounds, the aromas, and the numerous little surprises by the wildlife... wow.  And the panoramas.  Well worth the drive from Buffalo, NY. Lifelong memories of the awesome variety.

on Dec 04, 2013

Frogboy

BTW, next time someone says the US should do something because (country in Europe does it) ask them why the EU itself doesn't do it? You want to talk about wealth disparity, look at the EU.  Compare the stats of Bulgaria (an EU country) with that of say Germany or Sweden or France.  

While wealth inequality in the US is much much much better than it is in Europe (again, Europe, not a cherry picked country in Europe), it is still sufficient to implement nation wide programs.

 

If it wasn't for those transfers of wealth, the ex-confederate states would probably be at the economic level of Bulgaria, at best.  Most likely they would be failed states on par with Nigeria or Pakistan.

 

on Dec 09, 2013

Alstein


Quoting Frogboy, reply 56
BTW, next time someone says the US should do something because (country in Europe does it) ask them why the EU itself doesn't do it? You want to talk about wealth disparity, look at the EU.  Compare the stats of Bulgaria (an EU country) with that of say Germany or Sweden or France.  

While wealth inequality in the US is much much much better than it is in Europe (again, Europe, not a cherry picked country in Europe), it is still sufficient to implement nation wide programs.

 

If it wasn't for those transfers of wealth, the ex-confederate states would probably be at the economic level of Bulgaria, at best.  Most likely they would be failed states on par with Nigeria or Pakistan.

 

Sure, if you annihilate a land they're going to be in bad shape. The same could be said for Japan and Germany.

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