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.

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Frogboy
Reply #21 Wednesday, November 13, 2013 9:22 PM



Quoting psychoak, reply 15Crime 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...

LOL.  Jafo, you just provided an example of why this post exists.

You just compared Sweden to the entire United States.  I even included the incarceration rate per 100,000 in the original post.

Massachusetts has an incarceration rate of 218 (and it's not even the lowest rate in the US) compared to the average for the USA which is (according to your stat) 716.  That's a huge variance. That's why it's not useful to compare the entirety of the US to a 7 million population country.

Jafo
Reply #22 Wednesday, November 13, 2013 9:40 PM

Frogboy
LOL. Jafo, you just provided an example of why this post exists.

Yes, but it was in response to psychoak's comment re crimerates being static...they're on average statically high...

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

I'm sure there are comparable population numbers/densities in the countries listed there - interestingly all of whom have lower rates...

Australia...oft refered to as that 'land of convicts' isn't all that bad...

smeagolheart
Reply #23 Tuesday, November 19, 2013 6:57 PM



Quoting Frogboy, reply 21LOL. Jafo, you just provided an example of why this post exists.

Yes, but it was in response to psychoak's comment re crimerates being static...they're on average statically high...

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

I'm sure there are comparable population numbers/densities in the countries listed there - interestingly all of whom have lower rates...

Australia...oft refered to as that 'land of convicts' isn't all that bad...

Interesting list there.

2of3
Reply #24 Wednesday, November 20, 2013 10:39 AM

AceMatrix
We are seriously looking at other countries where we can feel a better sense of personal freedom & more positive environment for raising a family.

I can tell you that moving to Norway is the best thing I ever did in my life (I grew up in the Finger Lakes in Upstate NY). 20 years here and still going!

2of3
Reply #25 Wednesday, November 20, 2013 10:42 AM

Denmark's fine too, eh Snowy? But they talk funny there!

joasoze
Reply #26 Wednesday, November 20, 2013 1:43 PM

Sweden that much lower in income per person? 98% "white". Really? Where are those numbers from?

 

I am Norwegian by the way

ChungasRevenge
Reply #27 Wednesday, November 20, 2013 2:37 PM

@Jafo, Australia is the lucky country. Lucky if you don't get eaten by sharks, crocs, snakes, spiders, stung by jellyfish, burned in massive bush fires, drowned in apocalyptic floods, eaten by biblical swarms of locusts. We have none of that in New Zealand

 

Sorry, can't resist hassling big ugly brother Australia.

 

 

Jafo
Reply #28 Wednesday, November 20, 2013 3:52 PM

ChungasRevenge
@Jafo, Australia is the lucky country. Lucky if you don't get eaten by sharks, crocs, snakes, spiders, stung by jellyfish, burned in massive bush fires, drowned in apocalyptic floods, eaten by biblical swarms of locusts. We have none of that in New Zealand



Sorry, can't resist hassling big ugly brother Australia.

You have Earthquakes....

Nidhogg_123
Reply #29 Wednesday, November 20, 2013 4:51 PM

Finn here.

There is not much left. We fail at politics: we lost our religion, currency, laws..... 

Alcohol is still here so we good...

our leaders tried to take it from us...TRIED

the_Monk
Reply #30 Wednesday, November 20, 2013 5:38 PM

 

You guys are all wrong. 

Canada is the greatest place on earth to live.  We have beavers, polar bears and well.......bacon!   Oh and if you happen to be in politics you can be a crack-addict and still run a city!   Does it get any better?  

Ekko_Tek
Reply #31 Wednesday, November 20, 2013 9:09 PM

You forgot maple syrup and poutine!

joasoze
Reply #32 Thursday, November 21, 2013 2:54 AM

Canada is just a larger version of Norway. Cold and civilized

A Norwegian newspaper "lost" 20 wallets in Oslo (capital of Norway) a few days back. 15 were returned. There are still good people around in this world l

ElanaAhova
Reply #33 Wednesday, November 27, 2013 9:20 AM
I live in USA near border with Canada. Canadian bacon is way better tasting and healthier than USA bacon. Really, eh. (Would love to emigrate to a more civil place like Canada - but don't have enough points [not young enough, no cutting edge skills, and not rich] to be accepted.) Lost wallets? My ex husband found a wallet, returned it, and made a wonderful friend for life.
myfist0
Reply #34 Wednesday, November 27, 2013 9:55 AM

ElanaAhova
Would love to emigrate to a more civil place like Canada - but don't have enough points [not young enough, no cutting edge skills, and not rich

I am going to give away Canada's biggest secret 

At the border, just say "USA sucks, I love hockey." and you're in 

It's our "OpenSaysAMe"

myfist0
Reply #35 Wednesday, November 27, 2013 10:19 AM

Oh, and you wanna really know why the world is obsessed with Canadian beaver? Check this out

NitroX infinity
Reply #36 Wednesday, November 27, 2013 7:01 PM

Understandable viewpoint, but why not compare the EU to the US? Would that not 'even up the playing field'?

Alstein
Reply #37 Wednesday, November 27, 2013 8:49 PM

The real issue isn't that these countries are small, it's that they are more homogenous, and in Norway's case, has oil riches.

 

That said, just because those countries are small doesn't mean you handwave those ideas.  Just because the US is a large, heterogenous countries doesn't mean those policies won't work, or that our current policies do work.

 

If you took this argument to its logical conclusion- it would state that Massachusetts should consider secession, it would be better off without the rest of the US dragging it down.

 

That said, I do feel that if the South won the Civil War- the differences between the south and the north would be similar to the differences between the two Germanies in 1989, if the South didn't become a failed state by 1900.

 

 

Frogboy
Reply #38 Thursday, November 28, 2013 2:46 PM

the_Monk

 

You guys are all wrong. 

Canada is the greatest place on earth to live.  We have beavers, polar bears and well.......bacon!   Oh and if you happen to be in politics you can be a crack-addict and still run a city!   Does it get any better?  

I do like Canada lot!

Jafo
Reply #39 Thursday, November 28, 2013 5:01 PM

Frogboy
I do like Canada lot!

So do I.... but almost our sum-total of wildlife in a couple of weeks there was one squirrel.

We DID manage a photo of a bear, though.....took it from a billboard....

AceMatrix
Reply #40 Thursday, November 28, 2013 5:10 PM

We're moving Canada up to 1st place on our list. Is it difficult to gain citizenship there , or at the very least have extended stay privledges ?

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