Comparing Sweden/Finland/Denmark vs. other countries

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 by Draginol | Discussion: Life, the Universe and Everything

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.

First Previous Page 1 of 4 Next Last
parrottmath
Reply #1 Tuesday, November 12, 2013 4:22 PM

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.

AceMatrix
Reply #2 Tuesday, November 12, 2013 4:23 PM

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.

Heavenfall
Reply #3 Tuesday, November 12, 2013 4:30 PM

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.

Snowman
Reply #4 Tuesday, November 12, 2013 5:11 PM

Ace: Facts about Denmark (Where I live)

AceMatrix
Reply #5 Tuesday, November 12, 2013 6:05 PM

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.

Jafo
Reply #6 Tuesday, November 12, 2013 6:34 PM

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...

AceMatrix
Reply #7 Tuesday, November 12, 2013 7:29 PM

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.

smeagolheart
Reply #8 Wednesday, November 13, 2013 10:37 AM

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.

Borg999
Reply #9 Wednesday, November 13, 2013 11:13 AM

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.

Kantok
Reply #10 Wednesday, November 13, 2013 11:19 AM

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.  

Borg999
Reply #11 Wednesday, November 13, 2013 11:49 AM

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

 

 

Kantok
Reply #12 Wednesday, November 13, 2013 11:58 AM

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.  

Lord Xia
Reply #13 Wednesday, November 13, 2013 4:46 PM

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?

ZubaZ
Reply #14 Wednesday, November 13, 2013 6:30 PM

Ace: Go  south. Uruguayy, Paraguay. 

Tons more freedom, low cost of living. 

psychoak
Reply #15 Wednesday, November 13, 2013 6:32 PM

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.

Kantok
Reply #16 Wednesday, November 13, 2013 6:34 PM

In this case you are using "white" as shorthand for one homogenous culture. It really has little to do with race, per see, but more with distinct cultures. It is easier to design, implement and sell large national initiatives when you only have to worry about one major culture, rather than 2 or 3 or 12.

Jafo
Reply #17 Wednesday, November 13, 2013 7:03 PM

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

I'd think that incarceration rates per 100,000 of the population would be a yardstick...

USA...716

Sweden...67

[Australia...130] ...

Of course...Capital Punishment might skew them a tad .... but again that's [partly] the US...

Seleuceia
Reply #18 Wednesday, November 13, 2013 7:32 PM

Kantok
In this case you are using "white" as shorthand for one homogenous culture. It really has little to do with race, per see, but more with distinct cultures.

This is true, though to be fair there tends to be a strong relationship between "race" and "culture"...it may not be politically correct, but it is real...it is hard to statistically quantify how many followers there are of each "subculture", but it is much easier to quantify how many people there are of each race or religion....it's not perfect but no correlation is, and I think looking at the racial and religious background of a population is fair for this purpose...

Frogboy
Reply #19 Wednesday, November 13, 2013 9:15 PM

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.

If that's the case, it's because you're bringing it with you. 

Frogboy
Reply #20 Wednesday, November 13, 2013 9:19 PM

Borg999
 


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

Because racially homogenous countries face different challenges than those that are racially diverse.  For example, Americans tend to be ready to fling the race card at any opportunity...

Please login to comment and/or vote for this skin.

Welcome Guest! Please take the time to register with us.
There are many great features available to you once you register, including:

  • Richer content, access to many features that are disabled for guests like commenting on the forums and downloading skins.
  • Access to a great community, with a massive database of many, many areas of interest.
  • Access to contests & subscription offers like exclusive emails.
  • It's simple, and FREE!

Articles Filters

Category:
View:
Search:
Apply



walnut3