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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Alstein
Reply #61 Tuesday, December 10, 2013 6:37 AM

So you're saying the South was completely annihilated in 1860?  Some areas were, but nothing like modern warfare, and the level of infrastructure in the South was poor enough that it didn't do all that much.

 

A victorious CSA would have been ruled by tinpots with high levels of inequality.  There would be no democracy, and the economy would collapse within 20 years.  (and they'd probably try to start a war and get stomped to boot)   The North probably wouldn't want the South back because they'd decline so much and so rapidly. 

 

 

[back on topic]

I don't think the real issue is the size of the countries as much as the structure, though it is a fair and valid argument to say that large countries tend to have different structures than small ones, given that large countries tend to rely more on natural resources, which by the very nature of their businesses tend to be exploitative.  (US, Russia, Canada, Brazil and China all are like this- though Canada bucks the trend despite being large- why is that?)

ilihC
Reply #62 Tuesday, December 10, 2013 7:12 AM

Ehm, dont know where u got that statistics from really, im a swede and first of Sweden isnt really homogenous in that sense, at least not anymore. Dont know if u only measure it by standards like "asian" or "white" but Sweden is definetaly not 98 % white or homogenous att all anymore actually. Recent years the non western immigration in to sweden has been enormous. Take the the current Conflict in Syria for exampel. Our goverment currently grant permanent citizenship to any Syrian refugee who enters our borders. The latest OECD research shows that our schools perform on the level with Mexico.

Our "Far Right" and "Far left"(Communists)  are rising. Pathetic media wars and desperation from the established parties and mainstream media is only making shit worse. And yea the only country in the world who have more rapes per year then sweden according to statistics(Measured by population) is south africa. Dont know that much about US but your country must really suck.

Kantok
Reply #63 Tuesday, December 10, 2013 8:19 AM

Alstein

I don't think the real issue is the size of the countries as much as the structure, though it is a fair and valid argument to say that large countries tend to have different structures than small ones, given that large countries tend to rely more on natural resources, which by the very nature of their businesses tend to be exploitative.  (US, Russia, Canada, Brazil and China all are like this- though Canada bucks the trend despite being large- why is that?)

The problem isn't size.  It's cultural and ethnic (two sides of the same coin, really) homogeneity.  The larger the country the more heterogeneous it likely is. 

Alstein
Reply #64 Tuesday, December 10, 2013 8:46 AM

True, even if a country is homogenous, make it large enough and it will stop being homogenous.  (See the differences between Northern and Southern culture in the US- it really is two Americas)

 

 

 

 

 

Frogboy
Reply #65 Tuesday, December 10, 2013 1:12 PM

Alstein

True, even if a country is homogenous, make it large enough and it will stop being homogenous.  (See the differences between Northern and Southern culture in the US- it really is two Americas)

 

Exactly. There are parts of the United States that are practically third-world countries. And their stats get thrown in with the mass.

Imagine if Sweden had to take Albania's stats into it. Suddenly, things start to look very different.

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